Vigil held for Manchester bomb attack victims

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More than 100 people gathered in Crawley's Memorial Gardens to hold a vigil for those affected by the Manchester bomb attack.

The vigil this evening (Thursday May 25) was organised by father-of-two Raziq Raja, of Terry Road in Broadfield, and saw people of all religions gather together in friendship.

A vigil for the people affected by the Manchester bomb attack was held in Crawley's Memorial Gardens

A vigil for the people affected by the Manchester bomb attack was held in Crawley's Memorial Gardens

A minute's silence was observed and candles lit.

Speaker Shahbaz Ahmed said: "We are here to honour the people who died in the tragedy. We are all here to send a strong message that all of us condemn terrorism comprehensively and categorically.

"Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and there is no space whatsoever for terrorism in our society."

Mr Ahmed added: "We are here to send this message to the people of Manchester that we are with you. We are together. We are one. And inshallah (God willing) together we will win this fight against terrorism."

Picture by Ann Algate

Picture by Ann Algate

Crawley's mayor Brian Quinn said he had sent a letter of condolence to the mayor of Manchester.

He told those gathered: "What happened in Manchester was a callous and cowardly attack, especially on very young children and one, as we know, who was just eight years of age.

"It was an attack that targeted the youngest of people who went out to follow their favourite pop star but never returned home.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families who will be affected by this for the rest of their lives. We also pray for those who are still critical in hospital.

Picture by Ann Algate

Picture by Ann Algate

"This wonderful town Crawley has been a great example in Britain of a multicultural society where all of us has walked side by side for many years and may it long continue."

Conservative parliamentary candidate Henry Smith said he was proud to see so many people from so many different backgrounds at the vigil.

He added: "This is an amazing town because whenever there is adversity anywhere in the country or around the world, Crawley shows that it's a community made up of many different people that comes together, because we have far more in common than separates us."

Tim Lunnon, Labour's parliamentary candidate, said: "This attack was designed to divide this society and what we're seeing tonight is that Crawley won't be divided by such violence, such criminality as what we saw in Manchester.

Picture by Ann Algate

Picture by Ann Algate

"We have to stand together to show them there is no way we can be divided. If we can make it work in Crawley, which we are, it can work anywhere in the country."

Ann Algate was one of the many who was determined to show that her community would not be divided.

Describing the vigil as emotional and calming, she added: "I attended as it's not fair for all Muslims to be tarred with the same brush. Terrorists are horrible brainwashed people that bring harm to religion and to innocent people and children. And innocent people and children lost their lives on Monday due to violence and an act of selfishness.

"They make people racist towards those that mean no harm, like tonight. There were many Muslim people there and I was proud to stand amongst them tonight."

Picture by Ann Algate

Picture by Ann Algate