Assyria: Syriac Catholic Murders In Baghdad
Christian Muslim Forum condemns religious motivated attacks
Below is a statement published by Christian Muslim Forum:
As the Presidents of the Christian Muslim Forum we condemn the attack on the Syriac Catholic Church in Bahgdad on 31 October which resulted in the deaths of at least 46 worshippers, including priests. We strongly emphasise that any attack on Christians or any innocent people is not condoned by Islam, the Qur’an or the example of the Prophet Muhammad. In fact, Islamic teaching safeguards the rights and security both of the innocent and of places of worship. The terrorists who committed these murders do not act or speak for Islam and should not be seen as representing Islam in any way. We also condemn the threats of suicide bombing by ‘The Islamic State of Iraq’ (an al-Qaeda affiliate) against the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt.
We also support the faithful presence of the ancient Christian churches in Muslim countries in the Middle East. These indigenous Christian communities predate the arrival of Islam in Iraq, Egypt and other countries and they have lived and worshipped alongside Muslims for nearly 1400 years. This faithful coexistence is the shared and valuable legacy of all Christians and Muslims and we strongly support their continuing presence.
We acknowledge that the good values of religion can become lost, or hijacked, at times of war, suffering, inequality and oppression and that it is the role and responsibility of religious leaders, people of faith and all people of good will to emphasise what is best in all our different traditions and world-views in order to build peace. This is the task and commitment that we have taken on through our leading roles in the Christian Muslim Forum and in other areas of our professional and religious responsibilities.
1.Urge all people of faith and goodwill to see beyond hate, hostility, extremism and terrorism and not judge any religion, especially in this case Islam, by the violent and destructive acts of those who claim allegiance to a religion but deny it through their actions.
2.Draw attention to the resources Christianity and Islam have in their traditions, scriptures and wise, courageous and gentle leadership to bring peace rather than war.
3.Ask all who associate religions with hatred, bloodshed and war to look deeper into their all-pervading messages of peace with God, neighbour and the stranger.
4.Commend all genuine peace-building and inter-religious initiatives as antidotes to extremism, violence and terrorism and pray that the example of friendship and peaceful living together is seen as more ultimately more powerful than acts of hatred.
5.Ask the governments of Muslim countries to make every effort to protect their Christian communities where they are threatened by terrorists and extremists
6.Ask our own Government to recognise the legitimate case for asylum of Christians fleeing oppression, persecution, death threats and terrorism in Middle Eastern and other countries
The Christian Muslim Forum is currently planning an event, with Muslim and Christian partners, bringing together Christians and Muslims from the West, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries to explore joint action to support minority Christian communities and their peaceful Muslim neighbours in Iraq and elsewhere.’
Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham (Acting Bishop of Southwark, Co-Chair, Christian Muslim Forum), Imam Dr Musharraf Hussain OBE (Co-Chair), Revd Dr Nicholas Wood, Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Bishop Donnett Thomas, Bishop Paul Hendricks, Shaykh Abbas Ismail