Faith leaders in South Yorkshire have condemned the terrorist attacks in France and urged communities to unite.
Groups from across the region issued statements in the wake of last week’s attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people died, and the sieges across Paris.
The Sheffield and Doncaster Faith Leaders Group said they ‘stand united against those who wish to divide us’.
They said: “Freedom of speech is an inalienable right for all members of our communities.
“It is with the greatest of sadness that we speak of what has happened.
“However, we must be vigilant that while we remember those who lost their lives, we do not allow this tragedy to embolden those who would use it to divide and harm community unity.
“The communities of South Yorkshire stand in unity with the people of France, with people of all faiths and no faith, in solidarity to uphold the right of freedom of speech for all.
“We must ensure the acts of a few individuals will not be used as a means of scapegoating the entire Muslim population of Europe.
“At this time, we call for unity and solidarity and, in the name of universal human rights, to stand together in respect and tolerance of all faiths.”
The Federation of Mosques Sheffield said: “Whomever the attackers are, and whatever the cause, nothing justifies the taking of life. We ask all communities for unity and calm.
“Life is sacred and this brutal attack must be condemned by all people.
“The Islamic faith does not allow anyone to take the life of others. Such people are condemned in the holy Quran.
“In this tragic difficult time, our thoughts are with bereaved families, people of Paris and people of France.”