Increasing violence against religious communities in Syria alarming
Recent violence in Syria has once more shown that religious communities are being targeted and used as instruments of psychological warfare, political strategy or intimidation.
In a statement released today the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, has expressed his profound shock and deep concern over recent acts of violence, the brutal murder of Father François Mourad in the village of Al-Ghassaniyah as well as the continued destruction of Christian, Muslim and Jewish places of worship.
“Sadly and alarmingly, it is becoming apparent that foreign radical and terrorist elements are making use of the conflict in Syria and are deliberately targeting Christians, not sparing clergy and religious institutions and shrines. Their attacks are an attempt to sow interreligious tension,” Tveit said in the statement. He noted that many Syrian Muslim leaders, too, have displayed “their horror at brutal actions which seem deliberately intended to create hostility between Christians and Muslims”.
“We remember how, in March 2011, the beginning of the peaceful uprising in Syria, reclaiming freedom, dignity and equal citizenship, seemed to be a sign of hope for the Syrian people and for the whole region,” he continued. “We are now looking at a completely different and tragic picture.”