Muslims were gathering at mosques across Britain on Friday to hold prayers for the 202 people killed in last week’s Madrid train bombings, which have been blamed on Islamic extremists.
“We want to remind the world that Islam forbids killing innocent people. It is our duty to condemn the bombings,” the director of the UK Imams and Mosques council, Mohammad Raza, told Reuters.
Arab leaders in the Middle East have expressed concern about a possible backlash against Muslim communities in Europe in the wake of the Madrid blasts.
Raza said thousands of worshipers will pray for peace at mosques across the UK, including in London, Glasgow and Manchester.
“We’ve had an excellent response from our request to hold prayers for the victims,” he said.
British Muslims held similar prayers after the attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 and after the bombs during the Shi’ite festival in Kerbala in Iraq earlier this month, Raza said.
“We totally support any mosque that decides to commemorate the people who were killed in Madrid,” said Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain. “Sermons in mosques should speak up for all victims of oppression.