The terrorist attacks in Paris and inter faith relations in the UK: Statement from the Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Inter Faith Network for the UK:
We have watched with deep concern the news unfolding of coordinated murders, injury and destruction in terrorist attacks in Paris. Our prayers are with all affected by this atrocity.
A jihadist motive is described in news coverage.
Terrorism has many faces. Sometimes it wears the mask of religion, claiming a justification in religious teaching for its acts. This is rejected in the strongest terms by faith communities.
Terrorists have as their aim the creation of a climate of fear and uncertainty. Their victory begins the moment that people can no longer live in trust and with a sense of shared citizenship. In Britain, we live with the reality of the impact of international terrorism, feeling the shockwaves of events such as those in Paris as well as in other places around the world. In such a context, we need to build on the solid history of inter community relations in the UK. Let us not allow the wedge of suspicion and distrust to be driven between our communities.
Inter Faith Week is under way in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. One of its themes this year is ‘Living Well Together’. The events that the Week will see are a reminder of the reality and the importance of a positive coexistence. Tackling tough issues is part of this and on the agenda are those such as extremism, freedom of expression and responding to social ills such as poverty. Inter faith discussion and engagement does not just focus on easy issues; it is not just the province of those who agree. It is a challenging and vital process that needs, increasingly, to be part of the common discourse of our society.
We conclude, as we began, with our concern and sympathy for our near neighbours in France at this time.
The Rt Revd Richard Atkinson OBE (Co-Chair)
Vivian Wineman (Co-Chair)
Maulana M Shahid Raza OBE (Vice-Chair)
Dr Natubhai Shah MBE (Vice-Chair)
Lord Singh of Wimbledon CBE (Vice-Chair)