A Muslim leader in Exeter has “utterly condemned” acts of terror after last week’s bomb blast in the city.
Imam Mohammed Abrar, of Exeter Mosque, branded extremist violence as a “great sin” which went against Islam, and called for multicultural communities to remain united in the face of terror.
Speaking to Devon County Council’s executive yesterday, he said the religion was peace-loving.
“There’s no doubt that any act of terror is a great sin in the eyes of God. Acts like this make us all victims.”
He condemned Thursday’s explosion in the Giraffe Cafe, in Exeter’s Princesshay development, which led to bomb suspect Nicky Reilly sustaining serious facial injuries as one of the devices he was carrying partially exploded.
Police believe the 22-year-old from Plymouth, who has a history of mental illness, was “preyed upon and radicalised” by extremists.
Imam Abrar said it was the “humanity” of Westcountry communities which would bring people together and help overcome the challenges posed by the attack.
He added: “Those who plan acts of terrorism want to demoralise us as a nation and divide us as a people. We must remain united in our common purpose so that terror cannot and will not succeed.”
The meeting was told there had been little sign of a feared backlash, although there had been a couple of “minor” incidents in schools, which were quickly dealt with.
The Imam and council leader Brian Greenslade released a joint statement, which said they were united in “shock and condemnation”.
It read: “Such an act of terrorism is designed to create division, is indiscriminate in who it affects and is a crime. It is important that this shocking experience pulls us all closer together and does not serve to spread fear and mistrust among communities.
“We are committed to continuing to work together to promote better understanding and tolerance and to strongly oppose extremism and hatred in whatever form it may come.”
They were grateful to the emergency services for their “quick and efficient” response to Thursday’s incident.