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Victims of hate crime remembered at St Paul

An act of remembrance for the victims of hate crime will be held in St Paul’s Cathedral, this Saturday, 13 October at 6.30pm.

The short, inclusive, quiet and reflective ceremony – for those of different faiths and those of no faith – will mark the beginning of Hate Crime Awareness Week.

The service is being supported by 17-24-30, an organisation founded to support the victims of the London nail bomb attacks in 1999.

The name of the organisation relates to the dates in April that year on which the attacks took place:
17 April – Brixton, aimed at the black community
24 April – Brick Lane, aimed at the Asian community
30 April – Soho, aimed at the gay community

The service in St Paul’s will include readings, prayers, music and the lighting of candles, and all are welcome to attend. A candle will then continue to burn in the Cathedral for the duration of Hate Crime Awareness Week.

The Revd Mark Oakley, Canon Treasurer of St Paul’s, said: "Like many people in London I remember only too well those terrifying days in 1999 when London’s black, Asian and gay communities were targeted with bombs that killed, injured and terrified innocent people.

"All hate crimes seek to kill the human. Whether it is life that is taken away or the dignity of the human soul, these crimes against our human diversity cast a deep and fearful shadow over our life together.

"Too many are being injured, abused, bullied, humiliated and murdered simply because of their race, sexuality, religion, disability, gender identity or ethnicity. We must stand alongside those who suffer and are bereaved and do everything we can to stop the pain and abuse they endure.”

The Rt Revd Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, commented: "All of us carry seeds of hatred within ourselves. A spiritually evolved human life is developed by confronting what lies within us and so dispelling the darkness which otherwise we are tempted to project on to others. As we recommit ourselves to rebuilding a civilisation of love, our first responsibility is to accept the need for personal transformation and then to stand with those who are the objects of the irrational hatred of others.”

Hate Crime Awareness Week will end with a vigil in Trafalgar Square on Saturday, 20 October from 7-9pm.

Messages of support from religious leaders

The Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury:
"Hate crime is a fundamental challenge to an individual’s dignity and identity. As such is should have no possible place in a society that respects the dignity of all; and it should find no possible justification in any kind of religious belief.

"Christian faith has at its core the conviction that God values each of us infinitely; and it should spur us on to combat hatred and prejudice wherever we encounter them. My prayers are with you as you gather to remember all those who have been affected in any way by hate crimes. I share your hope that with vigilance and solidarity we may work together for a society free from such outrages."

The Most Revd Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster:
Wherever you live, work or travel in this great city of ours, our lives are enriched by the sheer diversity of the millions of people who live here. Each one is created by God and each of their lives is uniquely precious in God’s eyes. To some, life has become cheap, and distorted views have caused terrible things to befall innocent people who have become victims of what we now call hate crimes. Such hatred has no place in any faith or creed or in a civilized society.

"I pray that this special week will give practical help to those whose lives have been torn apart by hate crimes. I pray that we may all come to know the worth and dignity of all God’s sons and daughters.

"May the Lord Jesus Christ bless all your endeavours for this week and for the future."

Bharti Tailor, Secretary General of the Hindu Forum of Britain:
Hate crime can be overt or covert. Overt hate can mean death. Covert hate leads to the person dying inside.Our prayers are for all those who have suffered from it. We must do all we can to change hearts and minds to stop this behaviour, and truly build an equal world."

Ven. B. Seelawimala, Head of the London Buddhist Vihara and Sangha Nayake of Great Britain:
Crimes arising from hatred are particularly serious and the misery they cause to all the parties involved can be devastating. Lives can be ruined and untold suffering, both mental and physical, can be the result. It is most important that we are all made aware of this, so that we can all develop a better understanding and deeper compassion for the perpetrators as well as the victims.

"In our Dhammapada it says: 'All tremble at weapons; all fear death.
Comparing others with oneself, one should not slay, nor cause to slay'." (v.129)

Messages of support from political leaders

David Cameron, Prime Minister
"Thirteen years on from the horrific nail bomb attacks on Brixton, Brick Lane and the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, it is as important as ever that we remember those who were so tragically killed and injured and renew our determination to fight hate crime in our country.

"The work 17-24-30 and the Harvey Milk Foundation does to maintain awareness of hate crime is absolutely vital and I am delighted that this year there is an act of remembrance in St Paul’s Cathedral in addition to the vigil in Trafalgar Square.”

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister
"Everyone has the right to live without fear of persecution. Whatever the colour of your skin, the religion or faith you follow, the disability you live with, or the person you fall in love with, you should be able to live without prejudice.”

Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party
"This week of remembrance is an opportunity to renew our commitment to tackling homophobia, hate crimes and persecution. My commitment is to work with you to overcome fear and prejudice.”

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
"London is a great world city, one that thrives because of its diversity. It is also a city that can unite people and showcase the benefits of embracing difference to the rest of the world.

"The 17-24-30 No to Hate Crime Campaign gives us all the opportunity to pause, reflect ant recognise, that while crime may be on the decline, we still have work to do to eradicate all forms of hate crime against many different communities.”

Jenny Jones, Green Party Member of the London Assembly
"I am proud to support the 17-24-30 No to Hate Crime Campaign in taking a stand against this terrible type of crime. I should like to thank the 17-24-30 No to Hate Crime Campaign and the Harvey Milk Foundation for funding the London Vigil that is taking place this year and pay credit to the valuable work they do in challenging intolerance in our society.

"St Paul’s must be congratulated for hosting this event, bringing together all people regardless of faith.”