Portsmouth Muslim community leader calls for ‘unity’ after Manchester Arena attack

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A MUSLIM community leader in Portsmouth has called for unity and an end to terror attacks like the suicide bombing that took 22 lives in Manchester.

Foyzur Rahman, president of Portsmouth’s Jami Mosque, spoke out in the wake of the horrific murders at the Ariana Grande concert in Monday night.

These events are horrific but show a lot of positives about humans and communities.

The Very Reverend David Brindley

He said Portsmouth’s Muslim community condemned the barbaric attack.

‘We condemn what happened in Manchester,’ he said.

‘Islam has no connection with this atrocity.

‘I feel that for the children and others to die and get injured is appalling and my deepest sympathies go to the families.

‘We’ve arranged meeting with other mosques in the city.

‘We want unity. We hate the person who did this. It’s complete madness.

‘The main thing is that we keep together.

‘This has happened again and again but it must stop. We must stop this.’

Political leaders voiced their sadness at the killings.

They condemned the atrocity as an attack on ‘innocent young children’.

Flags at Portsmouth City Council flew at half-mast outside the Civic Offices in Guildhall Square yesterday.

Portsmouth South parliamentary candidate Flick Drummond said: ‘It’s a terrible thing and callous considering the age group of the innocent young people enjoying themselves at a concert.

‘It’s absolutely horrendous and very, very sad.’

Mrs Drummond, a Conservative candidate, said she was up most of the night watching the coverage of the horror attack, which also injured 59 people.

She added: ‘All the parents would have been waiting outside, it must be horrendous for them not knowing if their children have been injured or not.’

Rumal Khan, the Labour candidate for Portsmouth North said: ‘I condemn this attack and my thoughts are with the emergency services and members of the public who risked their lives to help others. Terrorists are cowards and terrorism will fail because we will always stand against those who seek to threaten our British democracy.’

Liberal Democrat group leader in Portsmouth and MP candidate Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘This is a horrific attack, deliberately targeted at young people.
 ‘I want to pay tribute to the emergency services, who worked through the night to secure the area and help the injured.’

Hampshire police’s chief constable Olivia Pinkney said security had been reviewed and will continue to be looked at.

In a statement she said: ‘Our thoughts are with all those affected by the events in Manchester on Monday night, with the families, friends and loved ones of all those killed and injured.

‘We have reviewed, and will continue to review, our security plans and capability, including around all pre-planned events taking place in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in the coming weeks.’

A spokeswoman for Portsmouth Guildhall confirmed security policies would be reviewed in light of the attack. Churches in the Portsmouth area opened up to allow people to light candles and pray.

The Dean of Portsmouth Cathedral, The Very Reverend David Brindley, said: ‘These events are horrific but show a lot of positives about humans and communities.

‘People pull together and help each other out.’

Around the country, candlelit vigils were held to remember those who lost their lives.

Late yesterday afternoon the police revealed the suicide bomber was Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old born in Manchester and believed to be of Libyan descent.