On May 25, the president of the South Asia Society, Pervez Sheikh, and others from the group, visited the scene where Lee Rigby was killed in Woolwich on May 22.
Flowers were laid and a short statement made offering sincerest condolences to his family and friends.
Because of this crime there is a lot of hatred directed towards Islam or Muslims in Britain.
South Asia Society would like to reiterate that the killing has nothing whatsoever to do with Islam: Islam totally and clearly condemns this type of act.
Two people are in custody charged with this crime and, if found guilty, punished according to the law.
The English Defence League and other similar extremist groups are now trying to take advantage of this situation and we at South Asia Society also condemn the attacks perpetrated in the name of such organisations.
We can categorically say that not all Muslims share extremist views.
Parts of the Muslim community now feel afraid to come out of their homes. There has been a sharp rise in the number of attacks, including the torching of mosques, and attempts to burn down a Muslim boarding school with 130 pupils and staff inside.
Imams must regularly and repeatedly condemn such violence during their Friday khutbas (sermons). Imams must be recruited from Britain rather than from other countries, and must have a strong command of English. They must be educated.
This is so that they can effectively argue against any extremist thinking within the Muslim community. They must speak the language of the local youth, and be persuasive and firm.
We welcome any moderate people to contact our organisation and join us to prove that British society will not react in the way extremists on both sides would like, which is to become divided.
We are anguished to see the direction that society is moving in, and call on all moderates to stand together with us to prove that we will not be manipulated.
President, South Asia Society
Acton (by email)
Can schools and homes co-exist?
As a former planning committee chairman I have read about the proposed joint housing/educational development at St John’s Primary School in West Ealing with some concern [Child safety fears over plan to build flats above school, Gazette, June 21].
I am fully aware that we need more housing and we also need more space for our rapidly expanding schools in the borough, so the pressure on a hard-pressed council like Ealing with limited land resources and seeking to ride coalition government cuts, while avoiding any increase in council tax, is obvious.
In such circumstances the economic attractions of a three-storey building, including much needed extra space for 180 children at St John’s School, surmounted by a residential development for 80 flats are understandable.
However the normal planning considerations for each sector of this development are usually mutually exclusive.
Schools need space for their children to travel to and from school safely without any increase in traffic, as well as safety and privacy for pupils at the school, especially during their outdoor breaks and sports activities.
Schools should be allowed to hold school and community evening activities, including occasionally “noisy” events such as choir practice and school fundraising entertainment events. They also need to be safe from intrusive behaviour such as excessive noise, odours and other distractions from strangers outside the school.
Residential properties on the other hand should be assured of quiet surroundings with adequate parking facilities and easy access to and from the property, including adequate emergency exits.
If the two were successfully combined the safeguards needed for residents could lead to continuous tension with the school. Separate exits and entrances for each plus safeguards from police and social services that no person on the sex offenders register could live or visit the flats. But such conditions would be rejected on appeal and difficult to enforce.
I have great concern about such a joint project being put through without the most careful consultation with all.
Perhaps the problems are not insurmountable, but if I were an Ealing planner I would be looking for a different fall-back option.
Inglis Road, Ealing
Time to reclaim our pavements
It’s jolly good that the council is to close Greenford Broadway street market. Now how about the council doing something about the (unofficial) Bilton Road market!
The stretch of pavement between Devon Close and Lee Road has ever more vegetable stalls sprawled across it, and they are not even outside greengrocers.
Either that, or there are delivery pallets or plastic trays of goods stacked on the pavement for half a day or more at the shops along there. And there is even an enclosed smoking area outside a shop at one point.
Surely these pavements belong to the public, not the shops. What is the council doing about it?
Name and address supplied
Get tough over plastic bag blight
There’s an illusion that plastic bags are free. But it is just that, an illusion. Used on average for 20 minutes, such bags, cost us dear.
Supermarkets pass on the cost in higher prices and we pay again through taxes for cleaning them up. Wildlife in our rivers and parks pay too when they get tangled up in them or mistake plastic for food.
That’s a price too high, particularly when the range of durable fabric shopping bags that are more comfortable and hold heavier loads grows each year.
Despite the Mayor of London talking tough on curbing this blight, his pledge for a plastic bag-free 2012 Games didn’t happen. Boris Johnson repeatedly says he is pressing the government to use its powers, but London is no closer to cutting the 1.5 billion plastic bags supermarkets hand out each year.
All other UK regions either have or are considering single-use bag charges, but in England the government dithers with failed supermarket voluntary measures. The mayor should insist government acts so all single-use bags are charged for and so kept out of London’s landfill and our wider environment.
Jenny Jones, AM
Green Party Group, London Assembly, City Hall