Luton’s People for Peace
The quickly developing political and social situation in the United States is causing concern to many, and is a particular cause of fear and anxiety to Muslims here in Luton and the UK.
The temporary ban on entry to the USA by refugees and others from seven Muslim majority nations feels like a warning of more legislation to come. The immediate suffering caused by the sudden imposition of the order looks unlikely to be the last. The destruction of a Texas mosque by fire seems to indicate that some feel it’s now open season on Muslims; and the terror attack on a Canadian mosque in Quebec killing six worshippers, apparently by a far right Trump supporter, suggests that the USA’s neighbours are not happy at their Prime Ministers warm welcome to refugees. Nearer to home BBC East carried reports on Monday of significant a rise in hate incidents in Bedfordshire, with very sad stories of hatred in Luton.
St Mary’s Church, along with our newly launched St Mary’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, want to stand with our Muslim friends and neighbours, recognising those fears and concerns, and expressing solidarity in this troubling time. Along with this we want to join our voices to the many who are concerned at the direction in which President Trump seems to be taking the USA.
For ourselves as Christians the Bible reminds us that we worship Christ both as King of the Nations, and yet the suffering servant. It is with hope that we work for justice and healing in our world amidst much injustice and pain. This is a testing time for democratic institutions, with many problems facing our governments. We seek to both stand with them in the task, and yet not be afraid to challenge, to speak truth to power. The newly formed Centre for Peace and Reconciliation is committed to that task, to be a voice for justice and peace, and ultimately reconciliation in our multicultural town and beyond.
We will be working to develop work along with our good friend Rehana Faisal and the An Nisa Trust women’s group (LANTern) to challenge discrimination and hatred however it looks across the whole Luton community.
As a mark of our desire to offer support to our Muslim friends and neighbours St Marys Centre for Peace and Reconciliation are organising Luton’s People for Peace with An Nisa Trust on Saturday, 2.00-4.00pm in St Georges Square Luton. The event will be an family friendly opportunity to build community in Luton by sharing lives, stories, culture, faith, music and poetry from across Luton’s diverse community. (This is not a protest so please leave your banners at home.)