Tolerance message at 7/7 service

London, England - Religious leaders have called for peace, tolerance and unity between different faiths, at a special service, the first multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey, ahead of the anniversary of the July 7 terror bombings.

Speakers from nine major religions stressed the importance of respect between different faith communities and condemned the "evil-minded" few who had terrorised London last year.

Guests including Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair and former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto attended the multi-faith service at a church next to Westminster Abbey.

The event was the brainchild of the new High Sheriff of Greater London, Dr Khalid Hameed, whose appointment was also marked by the ceremony.

Dr Hameed, the first Muslim to take up the role, said before the event he wanted it to send out a message in London and beyond that "We will not be intimidated by terrorists".

The service featured speeches by representatives of faiths including Sikhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

One by one, leaders from each faith referred to examples from their religion that showed how people from different communities should treat each other with tolerance.

Lord Nazir Ahmed, speaking on behalf of the Islamic faith, said: "Islam is a religion of peace, compassion and generosity.

"Unfortunately, due to the actions of a few, this religion of peace has been demonised in recent times."

Prayers were led by the Reverend Graeme Napier, Minor Canon and Succentor of Westminster, and Imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid, chairman of the Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony.