A group of multi-faith leaders have announced plans to visit schools in the hope of putting a stop to violence in an area of Birmingham scarred by gun crime.
At a meeting held at St Paul's and St Silas's Church in Lozells Road yesterday, Bishop Joe Aldred, chair of the Council of Black Led Councils, said the people of Lozells needed peace.
Bishop Aldred, who will next week visit the homes of Mohammed Basharat Ali and Meshack Tsefar Bernard-Brown, two men shot dead in Lozells, with Dr Mohammed Naseem, the chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque, said: "People are calling for peace. They recognise there is a criminal element but it is small.
"However it has a disproportionate effect. It encourages people to divide between the fault line of race and ethnicity.
"The call is for people to do effective work in dealing with criminality and for a focus on young people to get them to embody a world view more inclusive and less race-determined.
"The people are calling to see more visible signs of ethnic groups and faith groups together, demonstrating we can work together.
"We propose we are going to go into schools we have picked - about half a dozen. The plan is we do not just go there by ourselves but with other faith groups."
Bishop Aldred said the plans were at a very early stage and proposals would be discussed with Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police.
"Dr Naseem and myself are going next week to meet the families of the dead men together as a Christian and Muslim intervention," he added. "Our understanding is the victims and perpetrators of this tragic situation are between 15 to 25 years-old and the multiple deprivation, underachievement, gangs with guns and knives, and the trade in and use of drugs are at the core of this.
"We wonder if a breakdown in morals and discipline are in part to blame.
"The challenges faced in an area like Lozells are great, but not insurmountable and in our quest to move forward, we must not allow the few to destabilise the many.
"We must work to make criminal activities morally unacceptable and we call upon anyone with information that can assist the police with their enquiries to do so.
"The law-abiding citizens of Lozells and the city are crying out for a better way. Let's work together to achieve it."
Pastor Calvin Young, vice chair of the Council of Black Led Churches, added: "This is an important time in the life of Lozells and it is vital we all take a stand against the violence that is so harmful to local communities.
"I hope that by meeting together we will begin to heal the pain and work together to build a brighter and safer future for our children, young and older people who are by far the most affected by this present situation."