London: CARJ speaks out over latest gang war victim

 On New Year's Day, the first teenage victim of London's gang war was announced. Henry Bolombi was stabbed on Plevna Road in Edmonton, North London. His funeral took place yesterday. The Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ) issued the following statement shortly before his funeral at St Edmund's Church in Edmonton, north London. As Catholics working for Racial Justice we are concerned about life and justice for our young people. Fundamental to our faith are the ten commandments, summarised as "the love of God and love of our neighbour as ourselves". Christians should be encouraged to pass these core values on to our young people. The command "Thou shall not kill" emphasises that life is sacred. Life is God's gift to us and we must encourage our young people to treat life with the utmost respect it deserves. The Cross is the symbol of God's forgiveness, love and victory for all Christians. Others will know we are Christians by our love. There must be a demonstrable commitment to create an environment where love is visible. CARJ will be represented at today's funeral as an affirmation of the organisation's pastoral support for young people and families that have lost loved ones in communities in London. It is increasingly apparent that some communities are forced to live with gang violence on their streets. For example police reports indicate an increase in Trident murder and shooting incidents in the borough of Enfield (there was one death in 2001 and 11 deaths in 2007). There is genuine cause for concern. As parents we want justice for our children. It is justice for children to be loved and looked after, it is justice for our children to be educated, corrected in love when they make mistakes, and protected. It is justice for us to be our "brother's keeper". The society we live in is changing, things are moving fast and we must embrace the challenges brought about by this change, while maintaining the core values of our faith, to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves. It is our hope that Henry Bolombi's death, will increase our resolve to work together to restore our core Christian values within our families and our communities for a safer and just society. For more information see:

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