A book of condolence has been opened at Luton Town Hall and the Union Jack is flying at half mast over the town hall following the terror atrocity in Manchester last night in which 22 people died.
The Borough Council and the town’s faith communities have added their voices to the many millions around the world who strongly condemn last night’s attack at the Manchester Arena and offer their deepest sympathies to everyone affected by the tragedy.
Cllr Sian Timoney, Deputy Leader of Luton Borough Council, said, “Together with all peace-loving people around the world we stand together with the families and friends of those brutally murdered and horrifically injured at Manchester Arena. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time of despair and grief. The fact that an occasion of fun and excitement for so many youngsters has been turned into a time of death and tragedy fills us with revulsion.
“Incidents such as this reinforce our need to speak out against hate, division and negativity. We continue to be proud of the hard work and commitment within our own communities who are endeavouring to live and work together in peace and harmony.
“In the midst of such barbarism we have seen and been moved by examples of courage and professionalism from the emergency services, as well as the generous outpouring of goodwill, practical support and defiance in the face of adversity from the people of Manchester. Their spirit demonstrates to the watching world that we are unbowed by those who seek to disrupt our values of peace and tolerance.”
Rehana Faisal, representing both the Sunni and Luton Council of Mosques, said: “We are truly devastated by the senseless loss of lives in Manchester. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Whilst all life is precious, the deliberate targeting of children and young people is cruel beyond words and measure.
“As the country unites in its grief today, we hope and pray for the courage and wisdom within our communities to continue to build peace and tolerance for all.”
Zafar Khan, Luton Council of Faiths Chair, said: “We are deeply pained, distressed and grieved by the terror attack in Manchester. We condemn this evil act in the strongest terms. Such ongoing barbaric and sickening attacks, specifically targeted at young people, have no justification and are cowardly acts.
“Terrorism is profoundly at odds with the values of our faith’s traditions and has no place in the fabric of our society. Such attacks are designed to continue to divide people. Our heartfelt condolences go to the victims and families affected and to the people of Manchester. We ask people in Luton and across the country to come and stand together. We will continue to defy darkness with the light of our unity. Let us watch out for each other’s wellbeing and connect hearts and minds to strengthen our collective hope that lies in our shared humanity.”
A book of condolences is now open in the main reception area of the Town Hall. Those wishing to sign an online version can do so at www.luton.gov.uk.
The Council, Luton Council of Faiths and the Sunni and Luton Council of Mosques have organised a vigil beside the War Memorial today (Tuesday 23) at 5.30pm and warmly invite residents to show their solidarity by attending.