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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Archbishop's Tribute to London

Thursday 14th July 2005

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has paid tribute to London and the British press in the aftermath of last week's bomb attacks.

Speaking to journalists in Aberystwyth, where he led the two minutes' silence, Dr Williams said that the capital had reacted well to the tragedy:

"I suppose, like a lot of people I feel we might have seen it coming, and in a way we might have seen it coming. And at the same time it was impossible to predict. The anxieties that have been around for a long time about being a target for terrorism, well they have been vindicated and it's very tragic. But London goes on as usual with great courage and great calm, and I think that is a very important factor here."

He said he hoped that the two minutes' silence would send an important message to those most affected in the explosions:

"I think that everyone that's suffered will know that the whole country is behind them without a single doubt."

Asked about the indications that those involved were British born, he responded by praising the media's role:

"The anxiety of course is the knowledge that it seems to be British born people and it's just a reminder that terrorism knows no boundaries. I think, emotionally, it makes it harder for people. The greatest trouble about that is that it can encourage the kind of mindless backlash that occurs in some quarters towards Muslim communities. It's very good to see how the press here in Britain have guarded against that."

"It's no easier to explain than in any country in the world, but it seems to be that some younger members of these communities for whatever reason, get alienated from their own religious communities; sometimes they go abroad and get caught up in the drama of extremism. There's so little of it here but in some parts of the world it almost seems to be routine and that's the tragedy."

Asked about community relations, he said that there was a great deal to be thankful for:

"The fact is that we are the envy of Europe, strange as it may sound saying it at this point. But there's a lot to be grateful for, lots of openings, lots of willingness to work together and that is crucial for the future."

Dr Williams was in Wales to receive an honorary degree from the University of Aberystwyth.

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