The Co-Chairs of the Inter Faith Network for the UK and the Moderators of its Faith Communities Forum condemn in the strongest possible terms attacks such as that in Halle, Germany.
We repeat the message of the Co-Chairs issued shortly after the attack: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those killed in, and all affected by, the brutal gun attack in Halle, Germany”. That also noted the reported location of the attack near a synagogue and Jewish cemetery on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. At least one other attack also took place, at a Turkish café.
The full context for the attacks in Halle is not yet known but the early evidence from livestreaming by the gunman subsequently arrested (described as a white German citizen) points to the extreme right wing, and to motivations characterised by poisonous views about Jews and about a number of other groups within society.
We also condemn in the strongest possible terms forms of hatred such as Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and hatred directed at other groups such as Christians, Hindus and Sikhs – whether intentionally or due to illiterate misidentification of one group as another by perpetrators.
In the UK, we have a history of generally good relations and that has helped us withstand the impact of terror attacks such as those in London and Manchester. However these good relations have been increasingly punctuated by spikes in hate crime and suffering erosion from often bunkered and brutal public and online discourse.
The Inter Faith Network for the UK links in membership many national faith community representative bodies, inter faith organisations, and educational and academic bodies with a commitment to building good inter faith relations. It is important that we – alongside all others of good will – work to address these problems; that we stand up to prejudice and extremism and work, on the basis of values held in common, for a society where there is no place for hatred, where there is respectful and safe discussion of different views, and which is diverse but united, harmonious, just, and thriving.
The Inter Faith Network Co-Chairs and Faith Communities Forum Moderators