Published On: Wed, Aug 13th, 2014 on 1:07 pm

Prayer vigil to be held in Leeds for persecuted Iraqi minorities

Leeds Town Hall

The vigil will take place outside Leeds Town Hall

A prayer vigil has been organised to display solidarity with those suffering due to their faith in Iraq.

Scheduled to take place on 13 August at 8pm outside Leeds Town Hall, organisers hope to see people from all faiths and backgrounds helping send a message of support to those being persecuted.

It comes on the back of violence committed by an extremist militant group named ISIS (also known as the Islamic State) that has already taken control of areas in Iraq and Syria.

It has aggressively targeted Iraqi minority religious groups, including Christians, Shia Muslims and Yazidis, as well as the Shabak and Turkmen ethnic minorities.

Father Anthony Howe, Vicar of Staincliffe and one of the vigil organisers, said: “This is a tragedy in so many ways.

“Not only have so many been murdered for their faith, but ancient communities that have lived together for hundreds of years have been destroyed almost overnight.”

The Revd Jo Kershaw, Curate of Todmorden, and also one of the organisers, added: “For the sake of peace and freedom of conscience, we must put pressure on governments to act. For the sake of peace and freedom of conscience, we must bear witness and stand in solidarity with those affected.”

Attendees have been asked to bring a candle or lantern with them, or a holy image or rosary to aid their prayers.

Leeds Muslim Council and Leeds Makkah Mosque have also issued a statement condemning targeted attacks on Christians, people of other faiths and minority groups in Iraq by ISIS.

Imam of Leeds Makkah Mosque, Dr Imam Qari Asim MBE, said: “Actions such as the forced deportation, under the threat of execution, of Christians are far removed from the teachings of Islam.

“We urge people of all faiths and no faith to remain united and defend each other’s rights and liberties. We should not let the militants defeat the objective of achieving peace and harmony in the world.”

About the Author

Hasan Faridi

- Hasan is the founder and editor-in chief of the Yorkshire Standard. A BA Hons graduate from the University of Huddersfield, he has over four years of experience in newspapers, magazines and radio.

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