‘We stand with you, Paris’ - communities unite after terror attacks

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Communities have united in mourning and solidarity after the terror attacks in Paris.

At least 129 people were killed in a number of bombings and shootings across the French capital.

Mayor and Mayoress of Kirkless Paul Kane and Susan Bedford with the book of condolence at Dewsbury Town Hall.

Mayor and Mayoress of Kirkless Paul Kane and Susan Bedford with the book of condolence at Dewsbury Town Hall.

Councils, churches and community groups across the area have held vigils and events since the targic events on Friday.

In Wakefield, the city’s town hall was lit up in the colours of the French national flag, blue, white and red on Monday night as a tribute to those affected by the attacks.

There was also a vigil at Wakefield Cathedral where people were able to light a candle and say a prayer for the victims.

Peter Box, council leader, said: “On behalf of the people of Wakefield I offer our sincere condolences to those affected by the horrific attacks.

“All our flags were flown at half-mast on Monday as a mark of respect for the people who lost their lives and we also held another minute’s silence at full council on Wednesday to enable Wakefield Council’s elected members and colleagues to express their sympathy and solidarity.

“Wakefield stands united with the people of Paris and France in determination to defeat terrorism.”

So called Islamic State said it carried out the horrific attacks on bars, restaurants, a concert hall and a stadium.

Police said at least 129 people were killed and hundreds more were injured - with more than 100 in a critical condition. French president Francois Hollande described the attacks as “an act of war.”

Religious leaders also gathered in Halifax to show “solidarity” to those affected by the incidents.

Imams from mosques across the borough met with vicars and priests at Halifax Minster on Tuesday.

The Calderdale Council of Mosques, which helped organise the meeting, has condemned the attacks. Amjid Mahmood, council member, said: “The meeting is about people from different faiths and backgrounds across Calderdale showing unity and solidarity.

“We are all totally shocked and appalled by the attacks that unfolded, our prayers are with the families that have lost loved ones and who have been injured in these dreadful attacks. There is no such place in any religion that allows individuals to perpetuate such actions in taking lives of innocent people enjoying their freedom with families and friends.”

Mr Mahmood said representatives from all mosques in the area attended the event, as well as priests and vicars.

He said the group meets regularly to network with other faiths. Tim Swift, Calderdale Council leader, said: “On behalf of all the communities of Calderdale, we offer our thoughts and sympathies to the people of Paris as they come to terms with the horrific and evil attacks.

“We offer our solidarity to them, remembering at the same time the many other victims of terror and violence across the world in the last few days.

“I trust we can stay united in our determination to ensure that the actions of terrorists do not undermine our values, our way of life, and our commitment to a tolerant and diverse society.”

In Kirklees, a book of condolences has been opened at Dewsbury Town Hall.

The flags at the town hall also flew at half mast until sunset on Monday.

Mayor of Kirklees Coun Paul Kane (Lab, Dewsbury East) said: “I have written to the Mayor of Paris on behalf of Kirklees to pass on our thoughts and condolences at this sad time.

“The shocking activities of Friday have been felt around Europe, and have reminded us that atrocities like these take place across the world, and affect the lives of innocent people going about their daily lives.

“My thoughts are with the people of Paris and victims of terrorism worldwide.”

The book will be available until Tuesday, November 24.

A total of 11 Dewsbury-based mosques and Islamic education centres joined in solidarity with the victims and signed a statement strongly condemning the attacks,

It read: “Our hearts go out to the innocent victims of the recent terrorist atrocities in Paris.

“We share the pain of a French nation which has seen countless citizens brutally murdered and scores of others critically injured by unspeakable acts of cowardice and brutality.

“There can never be any justification whatsoever for such indiscriminate acts of violence and murder and we unequivocally condemn such acts in Paris and elsewhere.

“Those who have sought to claim responsibility for such brutal acts of wanton murder and violence have sought to use the Islamic faith to justify their heinous crimes.

“There can be no excuse, justification or explanation whatsoever for such brutality in Islam and we unreservedly condemn and reject such appalling claims.

“The collective hearts of our Muslim communities,institutes,congregations as well as each and every man, woman and child unreservedly condemn and cry for all those tragically affected by these abhorrent acts.”

In Batley, the Rabetah Al-Ulama Al-Islamiyyah Institute of Islamic Scholars condemned the attacks.

Moulana Hashim Sacha, chairman of Rabetah, said: “Terrorist acts of any kind is against the true nature of Islam no matter how it is packaged.

“Killing the innocent to prove a point is truly the work of misguided people. Terrorism has no place in any society whether it be on the grounds of faith or no faith.

“We hope the authorities in Paris and Beirut use the full force of the law to find the guilty and the world addresses the root of such actions.”

Landmark buildings across the world were also lit up in the colours of the French tricolour. The Tower Bridge in London, the Opera House in Sydney and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil were all transformed.

Supporters at England’s football international friendly match against France sang the French national anthem on Tuesday night.

Prime Minister David Cameron also announced an extra £2bn of funding for Britain’s special forces and SAS following the attacks.