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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

13 November 2015

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.

Tomorrow Inter Faith Week gets 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)

 

Notes

  1. Press queries to Inter Faith Network: tel 020 7730 0410; email ifnet@interfaith.org.uk
  2. The Inter Faith Network for the UK (www.interfaith.org.uk) was founded in 1987 to advance public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions and practices of the different faith communities in Britain and to promote good relations between people of different faiths in this country. It works with its member bodies and others to carry out these aims. One of its key programmes is Inter Faith Week: www.interfaithweek.org.
  3. Member bodies of the Inter Faith Network include: national faith community representative bodies; national, regional and local inter faith bodies; and academic institutions and educational bodies concerned with inter faith issues. A list of member bodies can be found at http://www.interfaith.org.uk/members/list.
  4. A copy of this Statement and of the Inter Faith Network’s policy on The Making of Network Statements can be found on the Statements and Messages page