Hindu and Muslim leaders in Leicester on Tuesday called for immediately stopping provocation and violence in a joint statement addressing recent tensions between the two communities in the British city.
“We together call upon the immediate cessation of provocation and violence, both in thought and behaviour,” a representative of the group said, according to Channel 4 News. “We together call upon the inciters of hatred to leave our city alone.”
The Hindu and Muslim community leaders said that Leicester has no place for “foreign extremist ideology” that causes divisions.
The statement said that the two communities settled in the city together.
“We fought the racists together, we built it up together,” the community leaders said. “The recent violence is not who we are as a city.”
They added: “We ask all to respect the sanctity of religious places, both mosques and mandirs [temples] alike, whether provocation with loud music, flag-bearing or derogatory chants or physical attacks against the fabric of worship. This is not acceptable nor upheld by our faiths.”
The community leaders, however, said that they would engage in “honest and uncomfortable conversations in addressing the issues”.
Tensions erupted in the British city following an India and Pakistan cricket match on August 28. A flare-up was also reported on September 17 between Hindus and Muslims after an unauthorised protest march was held in the city.
Videos shared on social media showed the police attempting to hold back two crowds as glass bottles were thrown. Some people were also seen carrying sticks and batons.
The police have arrested 27 persons in connection with the violence.
On Monday, the Indian High Commission in London had sought immediate action against those involved in the attacks. However, while criticising the violence, the High Commission only mentioned the “vandalization of premises and symbols of Hindu religion”, even though videos on social media showed that the Muslim community had also been attacked.
Meanwhile, Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe warned that such clashes could spread beyond the city unless the central government and police intervened, The Guardian reported.
She said that ministers must clamp down on “extremist rightwing ideology” and misinformation on social media.
“The reality is that we have fringe elements led and inspired by extremism and rightwing ideology rearing its head in the UK and in the peaceful city of Leicester,” Webbe said. “If we do not understand the root cause this will spread beyond Leicester to other areas.”