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08 June, 2013

This statement was agreed by the Initiatives of Change UK National Meeting on 2 June 2013 in Swanwick, Derbyshire.

We, a group of 80 people from different parts of the UK, of different backgrounds, faiths and beliefs, wish to express our profound sadness at the recent killing of Drummer Lee Rigby, in Woolwich.

We are also deeply concerned at the way some have appropriated this tragedy in an attempt to divide communities. We must resist attempts to divide us and in that, everyone has a role.

Although the apparent switch in the strategy of extremists towards more isolated attacks by individuals and small groups may require new security approaches, it is essential that our responses do not damage community cohesion or restrict freedom of speech. We all need to be more vigilant in preventing the indoctrination and recruitment of young people into all types of extremism, both here and abroad.

Education has a leading role to play in tackling prejudice between political, cultural and religious communities and groups. Children deserve to understand and celebrate diversity from an early age and be aware of the dangers of a non-inclusive society. This can enable them to make informed decisions and avoid the pitfalls of manipulative and socially-destructive doctrines.

We wish to acknowledge and support the wealth of initiatives which are already creating harmony between different communities. We encourage people to strengthen this movement and take further initiatives that build trust, respect and community.

In our daily interactions we all have the opportunity to impact positively on our communities. However small or inconsequential our efforts may seem, they are vital.

We invite you to share with us any projects to which you are linked. Your ideas and personal responses can inspire others to reach out myriad creative ways. Please reach us at suscom@uk.iofc.org.