Southend’s mosques have issued a joint statement and Imams have travelled from London to pay their respects to Sir David Amess following his death (Picture: PA)
The killing of MP Sir David Amess has been condemned as an ‘indefensible atrocity’ by Southend’s Muslim community.
The joint statement from all of the town’s mosques came as police said the attack on the 69-year-old MP may be linked to Islamist extremism.
Faith leaders said that the father-of-five was an ‘upstanding friend to our Muslim community’ who attended key events, including weddings, mosque openings and the launch of the town’s first Muslim Scout group.
In a statement published on the Essex Jamme Masjid website, on behalf of ‘all Southend mosques’, they said their thoughts and prayers were with Sir David’s family, friends and colleagues.
The statement added: ‘Sir David’s murder was an indefensible atrocity, committed on the grounds of a place of worship and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms.
‘This act was committed in the name of blind hatred, and we look forward to the perpetrator being brought to justice.’
Ruhul Shamsuddin, joint secretary of Essex Jamme Masjid, described the MP as a ‘tremendous force for good and pillar of support for our community’.
He said: ‘This was senseless violence against a truly wonderful man.’
Faith leaders said Sir David was an ‘upstanding friend to our Muslim community’ (Picture: PA)
Iftikhar Ul Haq, Imam, UKIM Southend Mosque and Dr Arshad Ghori, president, UKIM Southend Mosque, said Sir David was ‘always reachable, he showed great compassion for communities and always was there to offer support’.
An Iranian opposition group also paid tribute to Sir David describing him as a ‘human rights champion’ and an ‘enemy of many dictators’.
Hossein Abedini was among several members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran who laid flowers and framed photos of the MP near the church where he died.
Mr Abedini: ‘Sir David had a very important role in supporting the people of Iran, the uprisings happening in Iran, the Iranian refugees in Camp Ashraf.’
Sir David was fatally stabbed while meeting constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea on Friday.
A 25-year-old man arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder remains in custody at an Essex police station.
Scotland Yard said the country’s most senior counter-terror officer, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, has formally declared the incident as terrorism and said early investigations have revealed ‘a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism.’
In the wake of Sir David’s death tributes have been placed near to the church where he was killed and in Parliament Square in London (Picture: PA)
Imams have also travelled from London to pay their respects to Sir David.
Imam Mansoor Clarke and Imam Adeel Shah travelled from the capital to lay flowers near to where Sir David was killed.
Speaking to Sky News, Imam Mansoor Clarke said: ‘When an event happens like this where it attacks the fabric of our society, it’s important to regardless of creed, colour, nationality, to come together and show support.’
Imam Adeel Shah said it was ‘the teachings of Islam’ that motivated him to travel to Southend.
He added: ‘Islam teaches us to stand united, it teaches community cohesion and seeing such a tragic event has shaken us to the core.
In the wake of Sir David’s death tributes have been placed near to the church where he was killed and in Parliament Square in London.
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