Community leaders from among Hindus and Muslims of Leicester in the UK today issued a joint statement appealing for an end to a cycle of violence that escalated over the past week after the first altercations over an Asia Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan last month.
“We, the family of Leicester, stand in front of you not only as Hindus and Muslims but as brothers and sisters,” said one of the leaders, reading out the joint statement. He stressed that Leicester has “no place for any foreign extremist ideology that causes division”.
“Our two faiths have lived harmoniously in this wonderful city for over half a century. We arrived in this city together. We faced the same challenges together. We fought off racist haters together, and collectively made this city a beacon of diversity and community cohesion,” he read from the statement.
He added that the communities are “saddened and heartbroken” over the “tension and violence” that are “not part of a decent society”.
“We are from one family. We settled here in this city together, we fought the racists together, we built it up together. The recent violence is not who we are as a city.”
Joint statement on Hindu / Muslim tensions in Leicester pic.twitter.com/PPZLkusMeX
— Darshna Soni (@darshnasoni) September 20, 2022
“What we have seen is not what we’re about,” the leader said. “We ask all to respect the sanctity of religious places, both mosques and temples alike,” he added, urging people not to give in to “provocation with loud music, flag-bearing, derogatory chants or physical attacks against the fabric of worship”.
The tension that began after the August 28 cricket match, in which the India defeated Pakistan, got new sparks after rumours about damage to religious places went viral on social media. Protests and rallies, with angry slogans, were then held on Saturday and Sunday.
Fifteen people have so far been arrested for involvement in the violence, Leicestershire Police said in a statement.
The Indian High Commission in London also intervened against the reported vandalising of a temple in Leicester.
The Muslim community has cited a rally by some Hindu groups as “provocative” and “abusive”.