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Interfaith commemoration takes places in London to mourn Gaza victims

New Delhi, Dec. 26: In a display of solidarity, people from three Abrahamic religions gathered at Gasholder Park in London to commemorate and offer prayers for the lives lost in the Israeli attacks on Gaza, Anadolu Agency reports.

Health workers, responding to the call of “Health Workers for Palestine,” organised the event.

“Christmas in Bethlehem is cancelled this year. Instead, heads of Jerusalem churches asked for ‘heartfelt prayers for a just and lasting peace’,” said the organisers.

“Showing solidarity across different faiths a denominations, we commemorate lives lost to indiscriminate civilian attacks and call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza,” they added.

Mona, a pediatric nurse and a Christian by faith, said she finds it hard to celebrate Christmas while civilians are suffering in the holy land. She shared the staggering toll of the conflict, noting that nearly 340 healthcare workers in Gaza lost their lives.

Additionally, 110 healthcare workers were arbitrarily detained by Israel, with their fate remaining unknown, she added.

Mona drew attention to the damage inflicted on religious structures, with 176 mosques and four churches attacked, leaving no place of worship safe in Gaza.

Aaron Keller, a Jewish activist from the Anti-Occupation British Jews Platform (Na’amod), highlighted the dire situation in Gaza, where over 20,700 civilians have been killed in Israeli attacks.

Keller emphasised the destructive impact on societal memory due to the attacks and recited a Hebrew prayer for peace, healing, and hope.

Simon Woodman, pastor of Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, recalled his visits to Palestine and the restrictions on Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem.

“This year, the birthday of Jesus cannot be celebrated in the birthplace of Jesus,” he said, stressing that speaking out against injustice in Gaza is crucial not only for the region but for the concept of justice worldwide.

The event concluded with the recitation of Surah Fatiha from the Quran for those who lost their lives, and a rendition of the song “Be Brave, Friend, You Won’t Walk Alone,” originally sung against the apartheid regime in South Africa, echoing the global call for justice and solidarity.

As the participants dispersed, their unified prayers and messages echoed a hopeful desire for peace and justice in the troubled region, urging the international community to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, killing at least 20,700 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injuring 54,036 others, according to health authorities in the enclave.

The Israeli onslaught has left Gaza in ruins with half of the coastal territory’s housing stock damaged or destroyed, and nearly 2 million people displaced within the densely-populated enclave amid shortages of food and clean water.

 

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