Christian leaders, including the minister of St Mark’s Methodist Church in the High Road, are offering practical community support after the riots in Tottenham.
This afternoon (9 August 2011) Methodist minister the Rev Dr Valentin Dedji will visit the family of Mark Duggan who was shot dead on Thursday 4 August.
The police have been strongly criticised for the way they handled both the tragic shooting and its aftermath - producing waves of anger in the local community.
The Rev Dr Valentin Dedji, who has been a Methodist minster in Tottenham for 11 years, said that the damage caused by the resulting riots was horrendous.
“There are many families who have become homeless overnight,” he said. “Many public services and private businesses have been destroyed. The rebuilding process will be long."
Dedji continued: “We work very strongly ecumenically in Tottenham. We think that it is our mandate to grieve with those who are grieving. We want to support the families and victims of the riots; to be with them and to pray with them whenever there is loss of life. We don’t know yet why or what happened; that is part of the healing process.”
This evening Christians will gather with other faith leaders in Tottenham to hold a peace vigil in Monument Way at 7pm.
“I have received calls from Australia, Canada, France and Kenya offering support,” said MrDedji. “The support from colleagues, ordinary community members and friends from abroad has been very uplifting. What we need is the continuing prayerful support from everyone.”
The further disturbances across London yesterday have produced sharp criticism from politicians of all stripes. But while the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg thinks they are criminality that has "nothing to do" with deprivation or protest, others suggest a more complex picture.
Diane Abbott, neighbouring MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, wrote yesterday: "As was the case 26 years ago, nothing excuses violence. There is no doubt that all types of mindless thugs latched on to the disturbances. There were also hours of looting at Wood Green and Tottenham Hale, both shopping centres I know well. But just as with the original riots, parts of the community seem to have been a tinder box waiting to explode.
"Haringey Council has lost £41 million from its budget and has cut youth services by 75 per cent. The abolition of the education maintenance allowance hit Haringey hard, and thousands of young people at college depended on it. Again none of these things are reasons for rioting and looting. But with these and other cuts in jobs and services, it is difficult to see how areas like Tottenham can become less flammable soon."