The family of Fusilier Lee Rigby should not be denied a memorial if they want one, according to a letter in the Telegraph, from faith groups and civil society organisations, which British Future was pleased to support.
Thousands of people signed a petition to build a memorial at the site near Woolwich Barracks where he was killed last year by Islamist terrorists. Money has also been raised for the plinth. But campaigners say Greenwich Council is opposing the proposal, while Nick Raynsford, the local MP, has cautioned it “would not in my view be helpful” because it “might attract undesirable interest from extremists.”
Such groups should not dictate the public response to the tragedy of Fusilier Rigby’s murder, says the letter, which argues that “extreme groups such as the BNP and EDL did try to exploit the tragedy, but found very little public support.” It was signed by British Future, alongside groups and individuals representing the UK’s major religions, such as the Islamic Society of Britain and Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle.
Read the letter in full below:
SIR – We were disappointed to read about the apparent decision to refuse a request for a public memorial to Fusilier Lee Rigby (Comment, May 17), and hope this can be reconsidered. Lee Rigby’s murder shocked our country. In its wake, we saw Britons from every faith and none come together, both locally and nationally, to mourn his death, to commemorate his service, and to reject the hatred of his killers.
Extreme groups such as the BNP and EDL did try to exploit the tragedy, but found very little public support, being widely seen as part of the problem too. The Rigby family, in their grief, were consistently strong voices in challenging the tiny, unrepresentative minority who sought to use his name to stir up hatred.
If the family’s desire is to have a memorial, neither they, nor the British public as a whole, should be denied the chance to commemorate Lee Rigby’s service and sacrifice in a proper way.
Sughra Ahmed, President, Islamic Society of Britain
Mohammed Amin, Deputy Chairman, Conservative Muslim Forum
Sunny Hundal, Journalist
Dilwar Hussein, New Horizons in British Islam
Sunder Katwala, British Future
Nick Lowles, Hope Not Hate
Imam Ajmal Masoor
Stephen Pollard, Editor, Jewish Chronicle
Stephen Shashoua, Director, Three Faiths Forum
Julie Siddiqi, The Big Iftar