His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols has today issued the following statement in the aftermath of the Finsbury Park attack:
“Together with people all over this country I am appalled at the deliberate attack on people leaving their late night prayers, as the end of their day of fasting, at the mosque in Finsbury Park.
“I have assured the leadership of the mosque and the Muslim Welfare Centre of our prayers and support.
“Violence breeds violence. Hatred breeds hatred. Every one of us must repudiate hatred and violence from our words and actions.
“We must all be builders of understanding, compassion and peace, day by day, in our homes, our work and our communities. That is the only way.”
The Cardinal has also written to Mohammed Kozbar, Trustee and General Secretary of Finsbury Park Mosque expressing his “profound shock” at the attack on the congregation:
“I write to express my profound shock at the attack on your congregation as they left your mosque last night. I am horrified that people should, again, be targeted in this way.
“I write to assure you of my prayers for the person who has died, for those who have been injured and for all deeply affected by this brutal attack. I know that I speak for all Catholics when I assure you of prayers and support.
“Fr John O’Leary has told me of all the good work you do to foster strong and good relations with all people in Finsbury Park. Long may this good work continue and may your resolve be strengthened at this difficult time.
“I pray for God’s blessings on all people.”
The Cardinal sent a similar message to Ahmed Kheloufi, Director of Muslim Welfare House, expressing “shock and deep dismay” and assuring him of his “prayers and deep compassion” for the community:
“I write to you, as Director of the Muslim Welfare House, to express my shock and deep dismay at the terrible incident that happened last night on your doorstep.
“I want to assure you of my prayers and of my deep compassion for all who have been injured and affected by this deliberate act of violence. In particular I pray for the person who has been killed. May God’s blessings strengthened you all.
“I also want to thank you for the work you do to foster good relations in the Finsbury Park community. I pray that your work will be strengthened at this most difficult time.”