September 14, 2012, 11:11 AM
The Global Council of the United Religions Initiative is deeply saddened and dismayed by the news of the recent attacks on United States diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya, and in particular by the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stephens and three members of his staff.
We stand in solidarity with the leaders of the United States, Egypt and Libya, and with people of faith and conscience throughout the world, in condemning those who would use their religious beliefs as justification for criminal violence.
We agree with members of the Islamic Networks Group that “the answer to speech we find deeply offensive is more speech – speech that tells the true story of Islam – not censorship or violence.”
We applaud the ongoing demonstrations against these violent acts by people of many faiths in Egypt, Libya and throughout the world. We echo the words of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, whose members declared “Violent extremism seeks to inflict harm on innocent people and is an absolute corruption of Islamic doctrine. Regardless of motive, rationalization or evidence, this action must be condemned.”
We wish to second the words of the multi-faith Cordoba Initiative, whose members said “We must amplify the voices of moderation and strengthen the moderates who stand for justice and peaceful coexistence.” We hope, pray and believe that the future they envision will come to pass. As Abraham Karickam, our sub-regional coordinator for southern India, declared, “When one militant takes up arms under any pretext, thousands of saner believers will stand for peace.”
Tuesday's actions in Egypt and Libya will inspire us to redouble our efforts to weave a fabric of community based on the highest ideals of our faiths and a profound commitment to mutual respect for those of any tradition who are committed to laboring together in the field of peace, justice and healing.