LONDON, UK (ANS) -- Following the recent riots in several towns and cities in England that shocked the world, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali (former Bishop of Rochester), Pastor Ade Omooba (founder and director of Christian Concern) and other church leaders have had a letter published in the Sunday Telegraph concerning the disturbances.
Five people died and at least 16 others were injured as a direct result of related violent acts. An estimated £200 million worth of property damage was incurred, and local economic activity was significantly compromised.
The full text of the letter is reproduced below:
The new barbarism
SIR – We write as senior church leaders whose congregations have been affected by the recent violence on our streets.
What made Britain great was a sense of responsibility, of accountability to one another and, ultimately, to God. It is the loss of this moral framework that has led to the plunge into the new barbarism. We must take steps immediately to strengthen the family as a place for moral and spiritual formation where our children first learn about boundaries.
The churches are also committed to the task of supporting schools in their work of instilling the young with values derived from the timeless life-enhancing principles of the Bible.
What we instill in children today will determine in the future how they govern a nation, influence our policies and ultimately determine the quality of life in our communities.
We each make choices and decisions based on our value systems. Godlessness has only produced selfishness and greed. The well-tried Christian faith has given us hope in the past and can do so again now.
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, Former Bishop of Rochester and President of Oxtrad
Pastor Ade Omooba, Co-Founder, Christian Concern/Christian Legal Centre
Pastor Kofi Banful, Senior Pastor, Praise Chapel, Edgware, Middlesex
Rev Celia Apeagyei-Collins, Rehoboth Foundation, London E16
Rev Wale Hudson-Roberts, Founder African Development Forum, London
Pastor Lanre Sholola, Co-Founder, Christian Victory Group, London SW9
Details of the riots:
Between and August 6-10, 2011, many London districts and some other cities and towns in England suffered widespread rioting, looting and arson.
Following a peaceful march on August 6, 2011 in relation to the police response to the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by Metropolitan Police Service firearms officers on August 4, 2011, a riot began in Tottenham, North London.
In the following days, rioting spread to several London boroughs and districts and eventually to some other areas of England, with the most severe disturbances outside of London occurring in Bristol and cities in the Midlands and North West of England. Localized events connected to the major riots also took place in many smaller towns and cities in England.
The riots were characterized by rampant looting and arson attacks of unprecedented levels. As a result, British Prime Minister David Cameron returned early from his vacation in Italy and other government and opposition leaders also ended their holidays to attend to the matter. Additionally, all police leave was cancelled and Parliament was recalled on 11 August to debate the situation.
As of August 15th, about 3,100 people have been arrested, of whom more than 1,000 have been charged. Arrests, charges and court proceedings continue, with courts working extended hours.
Police action has been blamed for the initial riot, and the subsequent police reaction has been criticized as being neither appropriate nor sufficiently effective. The riots have generated significant ongoing debate among political, social and academic figures about the causes and context in which they happened.
Publication date: August 24, 2011