Archbishop of Canturbury’s statement to mark the beginning of Hate Crime Awareness Week
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Douglas Williams, has spoken about how hate crime ‘should have no possible place in a society that respects the dignity of all’ in a statement to mark the beginning of Hate Crime Awareness Week.
The Archbishop’s statement is below:
“Hate crime is a fundamental challenge to an individual’s dignity and identity. As such it should have no possible place in a society that respects the dignity of all; and it should find no possible justification in any kind of religious belief.
“Christian faith has at its core the conviction that God values each of us infinitely; and it should spur us on to combat hatred and prejudice wherever we encounter them. My prayers are with you as you gather to remember all those who have been affected in any way by hate crimes. I share your hope that with vigilance and solidarity we may work together for a society free from such outrages.”
An act of remembrance for the victims of hate crime will be held in St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Oct. 13.
The short, inclusive, quiet and reflective ceremony – for those of different faiths and those of no faith – will mark the beginning of Hate Crime Awareness Week.
The service is being supported by 17-24-30, an organisation founded to support the victims of theLondon nail bomb attacks in 1999.
The name of the organisation relates to the dates in April that year on which the attacks took place:
17 April – Brixton, aimed at the black community
24 April –Brick Lane, aimed at the Asian community
30 April –Soho, aimed at the gay community
The service inSt Paul’s will include readings, prayers, music and the lighting of candles, and all are welcome to attend. A candle will then continue to burn in the Cathedral for the duration of Hate Crime Awareness Week.
The Revd Mark Oakley, Canon Treasurer of St Paul’s, said: “Like many people in London I remember only too well those terrifying days in 1999 when London’s black, Asian and gay communities were targeted with bombs that killed, injured and terrified innocent people.
“All hate crimes seek to kill the human. Whether it is life that is taken away or the dignity of the human soul, these crimes against our human diversity cast a deep and fearful shadow over our life together.
“Too many are being injured, abused, bullied, humiliated and murdered simply because of their race, sexuality, religion, disability, gender identity or ethnicity. We must stand alongside those who suffer and are bereaved and do everything we can to stop the pain and abuse they endure.”
The Rt Revd Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, commented: “All of us carry seeds of hatred within ourselves. A spiritually evolved human life is developed by confronting what lies within us and so dispelling the darkness which otherwise we are tempted to project on to others. As we recommit ourselves to rebuilding a civilisation of love, our first responsibility is to accept the need for personal transformation and then to stand with those who are the objects of the irrational hatred of others.”
Hate Crime Awareness Week will end with a vigil inTrafalgar Squareon Saturday, 20 October from 7-9pm.