The senseless violence so many people suffered in the Pakistani Park attacks on Easter Day has shocked the peoples of the World. The blatant attack on Christian women and children is beyond comprehension. Of course, the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County once again stands in solidarity with the victims and their families as we continue to search for solutions to terrorism. It is hard to imagine what could possibly motivate anyone to attack children. With broken hearts we offer prayers seeking consolation for all who have suffered the violence of these acts and pledge to continue our work in bringing about peace through Interfaith love and understanding.
We are particularly concerned about the plight of Christians in areas where they are the religious minority. Our media and information outlets must not diminish or ignore the sufferings and persecution of the Christian populations. We also mourn those Muslims and all others present that were victims of this attack. We stand in full agreement with the Marrakesh Declaration of January 2016 which uncompromisingly states:
“We call upon the various religious groups bound by the same national fabric to address their mutual state of selective amnesia that blocks memories of centuries of joint and shared living on the same land; we call upon them to rebuild the past by reviving this tradition of conviviality, and restoring our shared trust that has been eroded by extremists using acts of terror and aggression;
We call upon representatives of the various religions, sects and denominations to confront all forms of religious bigotry, vilification, and denigration of what people hold sacred, as well as all speech that promote hatred and bigotry; and finally,
We affirm that it is unconscionable to employ religion for the purpose of aggressing upon the rights of religious minorities in Muslim countries.”
(The Marrakesh Declaration was adopted upon conferencing among Muslim leaders representatives of 120 nations around the world earlier this year in Morocco.)
Terrorists must not be allowed to claim religious motives for their criminal actions. They are simply people who commit crimes against humanity. They have no theology worth considering or vision other than the destruction of innocent people. They are motivated by the chaos they hope will cause others to lose hope.
We encourage our governmental leaders to focus on the social ills and real injustices by which people, especially young people, are attracted to the so-called ‘terrorist solution.’ We must be careful not to imitate the hatred we abhor or the actions we deplore. We must pursue peace through justice.
For now and always, we stand in solidarity with the people of Pakistan of every faith tradition and all those who have been victimized by terrorism and violence.