Candle-lit vigil for victims of New Zealand terrorist attack to take place in Preston tonight
A candle-lit vigil to remember the 50 victims of the New Zealand terror attacks will be held in Preston tonight.
The vigil will be held in Flag Market at 6.30pm and will be hosted by the city's interfaith group, Preston Faith Forum.
Community group Preston Citizens are sponsoring the event and are inviting the public to join them in a "public expression of outrage" at the hate-filled atrocity.
It follows the murder of 50 Muslims in a racist terror attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday, March 15.
A 28-year-old Australian man and self-professed white nationalist, Brenton Tarrant, has since been charged with murder.
Following his arrest, authorities in New Zealand found an 87-page manifesto, penned by Tarrant and filled with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim ideas.
Tonight's vigil will see representatives from Preston faith groups stand together in solidarity with the city's Muslim community.
Peter Lumsden, speaking on behalf of Preston Citizens, said it is important that the city's communities show "solidarity and defiance against the rise of hatred and violence".
He said: "Across the UK, the appalling terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, have resulted in prayers, condemnation, and demonstrations of solidarity with the Muslim community.
"As a city which is home to a sizeable Muslim population, we as representatives of faith and other civic society organisations in Preston add our voice to these public expressions of outrage.
"Extremist violence against people of any faith is a sad indictment of a polarised populace, and reinforces the urgency of working together against ignorance, prejudice and hatred.
"Citizens UK has a proud record of supporting and empowering people from across society, and on this tragic occasion we as the sponsoring committee of Preston Citizens invite other Prestonians to attend a public vigil for those killed in Christchurch, on Monday 18th March, flag market, 6.30 pm, organised by Preston Faith Forum."
A spokesman for Preston Faith Forum added: "Please join us tonight to help us show our solidarity and defiance against the rise of hatred and violence.
“We are proud of our commitment in Preston to seek to live together in peace and harmony.
"We urge all our fellow citizens to continue to put aside intolerance, malice and strife in order to attain peaceful and fruitful co-existence and co-operation.
“We recognise that as neighbours, we have responsibilities to the community, the world and ourselves.
"We affirm our desire to promote respect and tolerance for the integrity of each others’ beliefs, cultures and traditions.
"That is why it is important to come together tonight and declare that we will not be intimidated or divided."
When and where is the vigil?
The candle-lit vigil will take place at 6.30pm on Monday, March 18 at Preston Flag Market (outside the Harris Library).
Preston Faith Forum was formed in 2003 to improve the lives of the citizens of Preston by fostering interfaith dialogue, understanding, co-operation and joint working on a range of social, economic and environmental issues.