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Archbishop of Canterbury 'horrified' at soldier's murder

The Archbishop of Canterbury says he's 'horrified' by the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby but it must not cause division in communities.

Most Revd Justin Welby was speaking at a joint news conference in Leicester with Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra of the Muslim Council of Britain. The leaders called on "all our communities - Muslim and non-Muslim - to come together in solidarity to ensure the forces of hatred do not prevail."

Archbishop Welby said:

"We've all been horrified by the brutal murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

"And all of our prayers, and mine, are with his family, with his colleagues and comrades, and all those who witnessed this crime, and those in the community who've been so affected by it.

"I want to recognise the response of churches, mosques and other faith and civil society groups, as well as those of brave individuals who've done so much to bring our communities together at this time.

"The strong response from the Muslim Council of Britain and many other organisations has rightly emphasised that these acts have no place in Islam.

"The bishops of Suffolk and Woolwich have visited the area in which this dreadful crime took place and have prayed with the local community there.  

"Bishop Michael Ipgrave has met with other faith leaders in the Woolwich community and encouraged clergy and other Christian leaders to make contact with other faith leaders to ensure that this awful incident does not cause division.

"I want to commend very strongly what they're doing locally and to encourage Christian leaders more widely to do the same. 

"This is very much a time for communities to come together."

Prayers, readings and candles were lit this morning in memory of Drummer Rigby at a service in his hometown of Middleton, Greater Manchester Residents gathering at Burnside community centre for the vigil. 

The Bishop of Middleton, the Rt Revd Mark Davies, said:

"The nation has been shocked by Lee's death. But the greatest burden is carried by those he knew and loved. Our prayers and sympathies are with his family, friends and those he served with."

Claire Grimshaw was one of those attending and said Drummer Rigby was an amazing man:

"Everyone really, really thought he was a really nice lad.

"He used to play football with my brother and my cousins; Absolutely amazing. I just can't believe what they've done and how sick it is. It's absolutely terrible." The vigil was run by All Saints Martyrs Church in Langley and was attended by the soldier's younger sister. Curate Revd Jackie Calow put together the order of service.

She tells Premier's Marcus Jones how the relative is coping:

The soldier's family have paid tribute to the young father describing him as a lovely man who would do anything for anybody and said he will always be their hero.

During an extremely emotional news conference, his widow Rebecca said she was proud to be his wife and described him as a devoted father to their two year-old son Jack.

His stepfather Ian Rigby said he adored his family:

"What can we say about Lee, our hero. We are so proud of Lee, when he was born the family adored him, he was a precious gift given to us."

Twenty-five year-old Drummer Rigby, who joined the Army in 2006 and has served in Afghanistan, was killed in front of dozens of people in Woolwich on Wednesday afternoon. He was hacked to death in broad daylight by Islamist fanatics as he walked back to Woolwich Barracks where he was stationed. Video footage appears to show one of the alleged attackers covered in blood, holding a meat cleaver and saying he carried out the attack because British soldiers kill Muslims every day. Two men, Michael Adebowale, 22, and Michael Adebolajo, 28, are believed to have carried out the atrocity and are under arrest in separate London hospitals after being shot by armed police. They were known to MI5. Michael Adebolajo is said to have been raised in a devout Christian family before converting to Islam in 2003. A book of condolence has been opened at Leicester Cathedral today which includes biblical words from the Old Testament which are used in many funeral services: 'The eternal God is our refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms' (Deuteronomy 22:27).

The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester, said:

"This is a time to stand together and a time to draw from our rich traditions of sympathy and peace. 

"We will build the common good here by shunning violence and by growing compassion and understanding with one another.

"The Cathedral invites our people, from every community to unite in sympathy for the young soldier so brutally killed in Woolwich."

And Christian and Muslim leaders in Sheffield have issued a joint statement condemning the murder:

"Eyewitnesses suggest that the murderers made Islamic slogans during their terrible deed and were thus motivated by their Islamic faith. 

"This appalling action has no basis whatever in Islam and is to be condemned unreservedly.

"Our thoughts are with the soldier and his family. Muslims have long served in our country's Armed Forces, proudly and with honour. 

"This attack on a member of the Armed Forces is despicable and no cause can justify such a murder.

"We call on all our communities, regardless of their faith or ethnicity, to come together in solidarity to ensure that the forces of hatred do not prevail. 

"And it is important that we support the police in their peacekeeping work at this time of tension."

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