In the wake of the third terror incident in the United Kingdom this year, and an attack on Tehran, the capital of Iran, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit called for an end to attacks on innocent people and a unified voice of love and hope across the world.
In London, seven people died and 48 were injured when three men drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before stabbing people with knives in nearby restaurants. In Tehran, 12 people died and many others were injured when gunmen entered the parliament and a mausoleum in southern Tehran dedicated to the Islamic republic's founder Ayatollah Khomeini.
"We live in difficult and challenging times, in which this dreadful abuse of religion for violent ends is impacting the lives of human beings, in the UK, in Tehran, and in many parts of the world,” Tveit said. “We know that such perversion of faith is a danger to which we all need to be alert. As Christians we believe in a God of life, who wants his creation to enjoy the fullness of life. This also means that we are proactively committed to working for peace and partnership between Christians and Muslims, and with all people of good will.”
“As an example of this I want to affirm the importance of the relationships the WCC has been developing with the Muslim Council of Elders and with the important Sunni Muslim centre of Al-Azhar in Egypt. During our recent meeting for dialogue in Cairo at the end of April we were privileged to be shown around the ‘Al-Azhar Observatory’ and were impressed by the dedication of the young people working hard in the observatory, to struggle against the misrepresentation of Islam by groups such as Islamic State.’
"We extend our prayers for those who are hearing devastating news of lost lives, caring for the injured, and coping with feelings of fear," continued Tveit. "We call upon the world to unify in word and action to stop cruel acts against innocent people."
“Peace-building begins with how we relate to one another as neighbors and as human beings,” Tveit added. "We are one humanity. We must be accountable to one another, called into unity with one another, and ever-determined to be a source of hope in this world.”