Leaders of the Hindu-Muslim community of Leicester in the UK today issued a joint statement calling for an end to a cycle of violence that has escalated over the past week following the first dispute over a cricket match from the United Kingdom. Asia Cup between India and Pakistan last month.
“We, the family of Leicester, stand before you not only as Hindus and Muslims, but also as brothers and sisters,” said one of the leaders, reading the joint statement. He stressed that Leicester “has no place for a foreign extremist ideology that is divisive”.
“Our two religions have lived harmoniously in this beautiful city for over half a century. We came together in this city. We faced the same challenges together. We fought together against racist haters and made this city a beacon of diversity and community cohesion”, he read from the statement.
He added that the communities are “sad and heartbroken” at the “tension and violence” that are “not part of a decent society”.
“We come from one family. We settled here together in this town, we fought the racists together, we built it together. The recent violence is not who we are as a city.”
Joint statement on Hindu-Muslim tensions in Leicester pic.twitter.com/PPZLkusMeX
— Darshna Soni (@darshnasoni) September 20, 2022
“What we have seen is not what we care about,” said the leader. “We ask everyone to respect the sanctity of religious sites, both mosques and temples,” he added, urging people not to give in to “provocation with loud music, flag-bearing, derogatory chants or physical attacks on the fabric of worship”. .
Police said today they made 47 arrests as part of an ongoing operation to deter further disorder in the city in the east of England.
The tension that started after the August 28 cricket match in which India defeated Pakistan was rekindled by rumors of damage to religious sites that went viral on social media. Protests and demonstrations with angry slogans were then held on Saturday and Sunday.
Police said today that a 20-year-old man has been sentenced to 10 months in prison after pleading guilty to possession of an assault weapon during the clashes. Amos Noronha, from the area, appeared before the Leicester Magistrates’ Court after his arrest in Saturday’s incident and was quickly charged over “overwhelming evidence”.
Rob Nixon, temporary chief constable of the Leicestershire Police, said: “Some of those arrested were from out of town, including some from Birmingham.”
The Indian High Commission in London had intervened against the reported destruction of a temple in Leicester. Members of the Muslim community called a demonstration by some Hindu groups “provocative” and “offensive”.