Religious leaders unite to defy terror

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Indy Politics

In the wake of the bomb attacks on London, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim leaders made the joint statement at the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

The first words from the joint statement were read by Sir Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, who said that they began by remembering those who had sacrificed themselves in the victory over Nazism.

But 60 years later, Britain faced another evil - the indiscriminate murder of innocent people by terrorists.

Sheikh Dr Zaki Badawi, the chairman of the Council of Mosques and Imams, said: "We stand together now for a further purpose: to express our shared commitment to resisting and overcoming the evil of terrorism.

People who claimed that they carried out such atrocities in the name of Islam were acting "totally contrary to Islam", Dr Badawi said. "It is an evil that cannot be justified." To combat such a perverse understanding of Islam, he committed the Council of Mosques and Imams to taking a "proactive" approach in the re-education of misguided Muslims. "We will go to these groups with good scholars to explain to them the true nature of Islam and to argue to them about the theological basis for their hatred and anger," said Dr Badawi. "We will point out that there is always hope to remove the cause of their anger. They should never despair." Dr Williams said that members of all faith groups in Britain shared the worries of Muslims about reprisal attacks in the wake of Thursday's attacks. On Friday, several racist incidents were reported in which Muslims and Asians had been targeted in "revenge" for the bombings on the Underground.