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Chief's vigil speech

Last updated: 2005-07-15

Sir Jonathan Sacks

Sir Jonathan Sacks

Joining members of London's diverse cultural and religious communities, United Synagogue Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks delivered a speech at the Trafalgar Square Vigil to commemorate the terrorist attacks in London on July 7.

His speech in full:

“Of the 6000 languages spoken today, only one is universal.  The language of tears.  Grief knows no boundaries of race or creed or country or class. And grief is what we share today:

For the lives cut short;

the families bereaved;

the injuries that may last a lifetime.

In our own community, we mourn the loss of Miriam Hyman, Susan Levy, Anat Rosenberg, but the victims came from so many faiths, so many communities. That grief has turned us into one community.

Let that grief unite us now.

We stand together here in the heart of London.  And that too has a message for us and the world.

London is a capital city on the map of courage.

It had that courage in the Blitz.

It had that courage during the attacks of the IRA.

It has the courage to grieve while staying calm.

It has the courage not to give terror the victory of making us angry, and in our anger lose the values that make us what we are.

Let that courage unite us now.

And London is the home to many races, many religions,

Many cultures, many ethnicities.

Does that impoverish us?

No, it enriches us.

I believe that because every culture is different, everything has something unique to contribute to the life of this city and this nation.

We believe in the blessing of diversity; in the dignity of difference.

Let that unite us now.

But friends, this violence cannot continue.

No cause in the world – not political, not religious – can ever justify murdering the innocent or targeting the uninvolved.

We cannot get to heaven by creating hell on earth.

And therefore let all of us – Christian and Jew, Muslim and Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist, atheist and agnostic – join hands and proclaim that if anything is sacred, human life is sacred.

And because terror seeks to divide us, we defeat it by refusing to be divided.

Together in grief - Together in faith - May that grief and that faith unite us now.”