Faith communities called to denounce violence, religious and racial intolerance

Members of a family react outside the mosque following a shooting at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 15, 2019. REUTERS/SNPA/Martin Hunter

AS a Pacific member of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), we call on all communities of faith to denounce violence and religious and racial intolerance.

General Secretary for the Pacific Conference of Churches Reverend James Bhagwan said this in a statement issued yesterday in condemning the terrorist attacks in Christchurch that claimed the lives 49 people.

Rev Bhagwan said we need to come together as a community for non-violence and just peace.

“The Pacific Conference of Churches is deeply disturbed by the terrorist attacks against members of the Muslim community in Christchurch, New Zealand yesterday (Friday 15, 2019),” Rev Bhagwan said.

“That this evil was perpetrated on innocent defenceless women, children and men as they marked their holy day, with their Jummah Prayers is not just an attack on Muslims but an attack on all people of faith, on the right to worship and live in peace,” he said.

“We stand in solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers and condemn this terrible act and those who promote the ideologies of hate and discrimination.

“We call on our member churches and communities of faith to pray for the victims of the attacks and their families, for the Muslim community and for the people of New Zealand as they respond to this tragedy.

“Let us recommit to rejecting violence and discrimination and to work to practice the radical love of Christ which embraces the migrant, the different and the least among us.

“This crime underlines the need for deeper interreligious dialogue and stronger interreligious collaboration for peaceful families and inclusive communities in the face of gender-based violence, rapidly changing societies and impacts of climate change and structural violence and unjust economic practices which are the preconditions for intolerance, discrimination and radicalisation.

“There have been interreligious collaborations to call for Climate Justice and to speak out against Gender Based Violence in the region and we must continue to work together in the face of any form of extremism.

“We echo the words of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement who said, “though we may not think alike, let us love alike.”

More Stories