Luton's "deep shock" at Sri Lanka killings

22 April 2019, 11:14 | Updated: 22 April 2019, 11:21

Easter Sunday Sri Lanka

There's been a joint statement issued by Luton Council, Bedfordshire Police and the town's faith communities following the mass killings at churches and tourist hotels in Sri Lanka yesterday, Easter Sunday.

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The joint statement in Luton today reads:

"With deep shock and sorrow on this Easter Sunday, Luton’s faith communities, Luton Council and Bedfordshire Police have unanimously expressed their solidarity with the churches and the people of Sri Lanka following the news of the bombings of churches and hotels on Easter Sunday. Over 200 dead, including British Citizens, and many more injured have been claimed, as the news keeps unfolding.

Zafar Khan (Chair, Luton Council of Faiths) said, “We are deeply saddened at this heartbreaking incident. While we still await information regarding the perpetrators and their motives, we strongly condemn this barbaric and inhuman act of terrorism against Sri Lankan people. Our heartfelt condolences go to all those who have lost their loved ones in this outrageously criminal and cowardly act.”

On behalf of the Luton Council of Mosques & the Luton Sunni Council of Mosques, Rehana Faisal said, “We extend our condolences to all, and particularly to our Christian friends who will undoubtedly be feeling a pronounced sense of loss and sadness. We stand united with all in grief and in resistance to hate and violence. It is particularly abhorrent that these attacks were carried out on a day, which holds so much significance to Christians. We utterly reject all ideologies of hatred and division.”

Expressing his sadness and utter outrage, Bedfordshire Police Force Executive Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said:

"Our condolences go out to the victims and their families of these callous and evil attacks. We have zero tolerance for those that espouse hatred in whatever form and however subtly people might advance it.

The ultimate consequences of those that promote division and hatred is being seen all too often in its most horrific form. Our differences are our strengths.”

Mayor of Luton, Cllr Naseem Ayub, said:

"We are devastated to hear of this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the innocent victims of this senseless and heinous attack.

This is an attack on humanity, and all communities in Luton will continue to stand united against all forms of violence. We strongly condemn these appalling cowardly acts of hatred and division.”

Luton Council will be opening a book of condolences at Luton Town Hall as from Tuesday where the public can express their grief and support.

A vigil will be being held outside Luton Town Hall on Wednesday 24th April 2019 at 12:30pm.

Members of the public are all invited to join to offer our heartfelt prayers for the victims and condolences to all those who have lost loved ones in these appalling acts of violence."