Yesterday, while many in Europe were commemorating the first anniversary of the Brussels terrorist attacks, another outburst of violence took place very near the Houses of Parliament in central London (United Kingdom). The attack, carried out by a sole perpetrator, has left a reported four people dead and many dozens injured.
The Conference of European Churches grieves this loss of life and disruption of peace in the heart of one of Europe’s busiest and most vibrant cities where people of different origins and faiths live and work together. We join in prayers for the victims, those who knew and loved them, and for those who selflessly risked their own lives to protect and help others.
“In this solemn season of Lent, we lament the sins of our societies,” said CEC General Secretary Fr Heikki Huttunen. “As we turn our attention toward London, and call for peace, we acknowledge that such violence is an all too common occurrence throughout the world. We must all contribute to societies where inclusion and harmony pervade.” So far in March alone, terrorist and other acts of violence have claimed hundreds of lives in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, India, and elsewhere.
In responding to these events from his home in England, CEC President Rt Rev. Christopher Hill KCVO, DD remarked, “I heard of the terrible attack on my car radio not long after it had happened. I did not need pictures of it as I have walked over Westminster Bridge and into Parliament itself so many times. My heart grieves for those who have been killed or maimed, whether tourists or Londoners and Police Constable Keith Palmer stabbed by the assailant. While it is too early yet to know the motives for this apparently fanatical attack, all the people of Europe are at one with the UK in their shared suffering, not least France, Belgium, and Germany where they too have known the cost in terms of human lives in such attacks.”