Politicians and faith leaders from Burnley and Pendle met to discuss the Paris terror attacks and the current conflict in Syria.
The Burnley and Pendle Friends League Symposium, held in Brierfield, brought together more than 60 people who discussed the implications on the traumatic events for communities here and for world peace.
We all want and are striving for a peaceful world.Saghir Ahmed, chairman of the Burnley and Pendle Friends League
Burnley MP Julie Cooper and Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson joined a panel which also included Fr Ed Saville, representing the Bishop of Burnley Philip North, and the Mayor of Pendle Coun. Mohammed Nawaz.
Former Burnley councillor Mozaquir Ali, general secretary of Burnley and Pendle Friends League, chaired and organised the event.
The evening began with prayer, followed by a debate in which expressions of sympathy were made for the victims of violence.
Mrs Cooper revealed she was minded to vote against the bombing of Syria while Mr Stephenson said he was minded to vote for action.
Many expressed a fear that a bombing campaign may repeat the mistakes of the past, kill the innocent, and fuel the propaganda of the fanatics.
The following resolutions were made:
• “God’s name should never be used to justify hatred or violence. Thus, as people of faith, we are appalled whenever those who seek to validate their actions of evil, use the cloak of religion to hide their intolerance.
• “The place of justice is always an area of debate and compromise. Extremists reject this. We as people of faith encourage those with political power to remain distant from all the false Gods that seek the narrow view, and justify indiscriminate killing.”
Mr Ali said: “It was a pleasure for us to be able to facilitate a frank and open forum where everyone was able to express their concerns and views without hindrance.
“The resolutions unanimously agreed at the Symposium sends a clear message for the Government from the people of Burnley and Pendle when the issue is debated in Parliament considering military intervention in Syria.”
Candles were lit in remembrance of the victims and prayers were led by Imams and priests for world peace.
Saghir Ahmed, chairman of the Friends League, said: “I felt really touched by the gathering and the huge turnout, our appreciations to all the Reverend fathers from churches and Imams from mosques for openly expressing their views and concern on this very important world issue, and of course suggesting a way forward.
“The message from the Symposium is unanimous and clear, that we all want and are striving for a peaceful world.”