London Bridge attack: Muslim leaders gather and pledge to ‘root out extremism’

Muslim leaders pledged to “root out” the “menace” of extremism as they gathered on London Bridge to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in Saturday night’s terror attack.

Around 100 Imams condemned recent atrocities in both London and Manchester as they launched an action plan to tackle radicalisation within their communities.

They labelled terrorists “criminals” and “not martyrs”, warning them that they were not “following the path to paradise” through their actions.

Many senior Muslim figures held aloft pieces of paper with the slogans “We stand with London” and “Not in our name” and carried single red roses.

Vigil: Holding aloft signs reading “Turn to Love”, they reflected on the lives lost on Saturday night (PA)

Accompanied by leaders from other faiths, the Imams paused to reflect at a makeshift memorial near to the scene of the atrocity.

A large crowd gathered opposite The Barrowboy And Banker pub, close to where the van carrying the terrorist trio Youssef Zaghba, Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane crashed.

Reflection: British imams and other religious leaders held a vigil near to the scene of Saturday’s terrorist attack (PA)

They murdered eight people and injured 48 others in their rampage around London Bridge and Borough Market.

“Today we make it clear that terrorists and extremists are not following the path to paradise,” Muslim scholar Aneesa Hussain said to the crowd.

London Bridge: The Imam’s join with other religious leaders in a multi-faith service to condemn the terror attack (EPA)

“We clarify that the funeral prayer of such barbaric individuals is not to be performed, nor they be buried among the Muslims.

“We stand here also to reiterate our commitment to peace, bridge-building and British values, and to continue to play our role in rooting out this menace from our communities and the wider society.”

Vigil: Imams and members of the Muslim community arrive to lay flowers near the scene (Getty Images)

Echoing the words of Prime Minister Theresa May, she said: “Enough is indeed enough” as a four-point plan to combat extremist ideology was announced.

The plan states that Muslims in Britain can be confident in their identity and that their religion is compatible with the values held dear within the UK.

Theresa May condemns ‘perverted’ ideology behind London Bridge terror attack

It emphasises that the notion Muslims should support a so-called Islamic State and that it is a betrayal to help British authorities are “wrong”.

Leaders have also vowed to improve cross-community engagement by showing there are no no-go areas when it comes to places of worship.

Emotional: A man reacts during a gathering of representatives of the Muslim community south of London Bridge (AFP/Getty Images)

Part of the plan echoes further the words of Mrs May in the wake of recent attacks, that the internet should not give “safe spaces” to extremists, and said it remains a challenge to prevent online grooming of young people.

Imam Qari Asim told the Press Association ahead of the demonstration: “My message to any wannabe extremist is that by taking part in terror you are not committing a martyrdom, you are following a suicidal cause, and you’re bringing disrepute to your family members and the whole of the community.”

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The spokesman for the British Muslim Forum and imam of the Leeds Makkah mosque added: “And more importantly you are not a martyr, you are a criminal and it’s as simple as that.”

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