'˜These are crazy people, they aren't representing human beings let alone the Muslim community'
'These people aren't Muslims, they're not even human' '“ that's the view of Preston's Muslim community on the perpetrators of the recent terrorist attacks.
The city’s Light Foundation – which aims to break down barriers between communities – threw open its doors last week to people of all and no faith for its second annual Interfaith Ramadan dinner, to discuss ‘building bridges through friendship and understanding’.
Although the occasion had been planned for months in advance, Light Foundation co-founder Nadeem Ashfaq said the Manchester bombing was high on people’s agenda, with guest speakers Shaykh Adam Kelwick and Shaykh Bilal Brown questioned on recent tragic events.
He said: “It was an amazing event, the hall was packed out with people from all walks of life.
“It had been planned, but the awful events recently made it more appropriate to host. It was good to have an event to connect us as a community.
“People were asking questions about why Muslims feel the need to do this. But Adam and Bilal answered, saying these are crazy people, they are not representative of human beings, let alone Muslims.
“They are not religious people, they’re just yobs – often lonely and looking to gain a reputation by doing these things.”
He described the event as an “absolutely phenomenal display of ‘togetherness’ during times where this is most needed”, with people satisfied with the answers provided.
The event, held at the Quaker Meeting House in St George’s Road, was attended by around 120 people, including civic and religious leaders, councillors from all parties and Preston parliamentary candidate Mark Hendrick. Members of the EDL were also invited, but they did not attend.
Many non-Muslims fasted for the day and broke the fast during the meeting.
The Light Foundation hosts meetings covering different topics on the first Thursday of every month, at the Quaker Meeting House.
All are welcome to attend.
Message of support
The event also promoted the Light Foundation’s fundraising appeal for the family of Saffie Roussos from Leyland, the youngest person killed in the Manchester bombing.
Members of the Light Foundation intend to visit the family when appropriate, to deliver a bouquet of flowers with messages of support on behalf of the people of Preston alongside donations.
A spokesman said: “We regard the family of Saffie as our neighbours as Leyland is a few miles away from Preston, and consider them to be like our family in need of some support.”
So far the appeal has raised £566 out of the £1,000 target.
To donate, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/light-foundation-preston
‘It will never replace what they have lost’
An appeal to buy a teddy bear for each of the families who lost a family member in the Manchester bombing has smashed its fundraising goal.
Natasha Parrott, 30, of Riley Green near Hoghton, said she felt compelled to help after hearing about the atrocities and wanted to donate ‘superhero’ teddies.
She said: “It will never replace what they have lost, but it will be something to cuddle and will show that we are all thinking of them.”
After speaking with the Build a Bear shop at the Trafford Centre, she struck a deal for 22 bears at a cost of £239.
After two days, £400 was raised, covering the cost of the bears, boxes and delivery.
Natasha, who works for Regus on Preston Docks, said: “I can’t believe it, I am in shock and feeling emotional.
“I would like the thank everyone for their kindness and generosity. It is incredible how our incredible city and country have pulled together through such sadness and destruction.”
First funeral held for victim
The first funeral for one of the victims of Manchester’s terror attack has been held.
The family and friends of Eilidh Macleod, who was one of 22 killed by a suicide bomber at the Manchester Arena gathered on the remote Scottish Island of Barra.
Eilidh, 14, was one of 22 killed at the Ariana Grande by terrorist Salman Abedi including four from Lancashire on May 22.
Dates for the funerals of Michelle Kiss, from Clitheroe, Saffie-Rose Roussos, from Leyland and Georgina Callander, from Hesketh Bank, have not been set.
And in the last week, detectives say they have made “immense progress” in the investigation into the Manchester bombing and are confident they have arrested some “key players”.
On Saturday, June 24 an eight hour walk is taking place from Chorley to the Manchester Arena with walkers raising money for various charities in memory of the victims.
London Bridge terrorists ‘known to police’
Two of the London Bridge terrorists have been named by Scotland Yard as Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane.
Butt, a 27-year-old British citizen born in Pakistan, and Redouane, who claimed to be Moroccan-Libyan, both lived in Barking, east London.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said Butt was known to the security services, but there was no evidence of “attack planning” by him.
All 12 people arrested in relation to the London Bridge terror outrage have been released without charge.
And the brother of Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi has been released without charge by police.
A minute’s silence will be held across the country at 11am this morning to remember the victims.
And Blackpool Tower has also been lit up in tribute.
On Sunday, the Tower went dark for half an hour from 10.08pm - the time of the first calls about the London attack came to the police.
And last night, it showed the colours of the Union Flag before going dark for eight minutes - the time between the first call coming in and the attackers being shot dead - before the heart lit up.