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UK Indians pray for Mumbai blasts' victims

india Updated: Jul 14, 2006 10:56 IST

Leaders of different religions in UK have condemned the Mumbai blasts and organised prayer meetings in different places of worship, mainly across the Midlands which has a sizeable population of Indian origin.

In places such as Leicester and Birmingham that have a large minority of Indian origin, people were fixed to television sets to know the latest of the blasts. Many were frustrated at not being able to get through to their relatives in Mumbai by phone.

Leicester councillor Manjula Sood, a trustee and executive director of Leicester Council of Faiths, said: "I just saw it unfold on television and I screamed and shouted to my mum. It is so shocking coming so soon after we mourned the loss of people in similar attacks in our country."

Rashmikant Joshi, secretary of a Hindu temple in Leicester and a councillor, said: "My understanding is that they did not target third class compartments - I have travelled in those in the past and they are crammed full of people. The toll could have been much higher."

Ramanbhai Barber, president of the Shree Sanatan Mandir Hindu temple, told Leicester Mercury, a local newspaper: "It is a tragedy. Mumbai is a metropolitan city with many faiths. This is shocking news for the Hindu community and throughout the world."

The Rev Canon Andrew Wingate, inter-faith advisor to the diocese of Leicester, who has worked in India, said: "No amount of grievances, real or imagined, can justify this kind of attack."

Shaikh Ibrahim Mogra, a leading member of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "It's particularly sad it comes near the anniversary of a terrorist attack, and more people have to go through the pain. Our prayers go out to them."

"It reminds us we must work together to be vigilant against all violence, whoever the perpetrators."

Davinder Singh, general secretary of the Federation of Sikh Organisations Leicestershire, said: "Our hearts and consolations go out to those families caught up in this tragedy."

"Our prayers go to give them strength to cope with this situation. If this is a terrorist attack then it must be clear, action like this does not get a message across."

The Federation of Muslim Organisations in Leicestershire condemned the attacks, as "cowardly and abhorrent".

Spokesperson Suleman Nagdi said: "One cannot imagine the magnitude of such an act, and those who have lost members of their family will have a long-lasting effect."

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families."

In Birmingham, prayers were held at the Geeta Bhawan temple. Krishan Kumar, who hosted the service in Handsworth, said: "We had just been praying for the 7/7 victims and now this. People of all faiths are uniting to condemn these terrorists and continue to fight for justice."

Noor Hussain, chairman of the Stratford Road Business Association, a heartland of the city's Asian business community, condemned the bombers.

The Birmingham Post reported that the association, which stretches from Camp Hill to Springfield and has about 700 members, sympathised with its counterparts in the business community targeted in Mumbai.

Noor said: "We have a very large variety of people trading along this route - Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Africans, Caribbeans, as well as Indians. Everybody you talk to is saddened about this. The whole of the community shares the same views."

"On behalf of our community, we condemn the bombers. There was no justification to do anything like this."

Mahendra Tabhi, president of the Hindu Council of Birmingham, said: "There is a certain amount of anger in the community about these bomb blasts, particularly because they targeted innocents. It must have been a very well coordinated event."

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