Interfaith gestures can unite us all: paper

ABU DHABI, 2nd August, 2016 (WAM) — An editorial published in Gulf News this morning reflected on the many tragic violent terrorist events that unfolded around the world this summer, saying that there was enough “to fill news pages, news sites and air time for a lifetime.”

The paper said, “…and there seems to be no end to the attacks that now have become commonplace, carried out by extremists and terrorists to further their perverted ideologies. It’s enough to make anyone question whether indeed we have all been pulled towards a dark abyss, where violence and intolerance are now a norm and whether our moral compass has become distorted by the magnetism of malice and mayhem.”

But the reality is, the paper said, that we actually do live in a tolerant time, where human dignity, caring and compassion counter the vitriolic, the violent and the fervent. “In France on Sunday, Muslims were embraced with open arms in churches across cities and villages as Roman Catholics gathered for mass. It was a symbolic coming together, sharing in prayer and peace and remembering the 85-year-old priest, Rev. Jacques Hamel, who was killed in a hostage-taking incident and attack on a Normandy church on July 26th.”

“At one service, a banner was unfurled that simply read: ‘Love for all. Hate for none’. Across France, a nation that has suffered so heavily these past months at the hands of extremists on the streets of Paris and the promenades of Nice, there were similar interfaith gatherings, all gestures to show that the vast majority, regardless of what faith divides or race segregates, are united in wanting an end to this madness,” it added.

The editorial went on to quote Pope Francis, who spoke to reporters on Sunday following his return to the Vatican from an international gathering of youth in Poland. The very powerful but simple message he delivered was, “It’s not right to identify Islam with violence. It’s not right and it’s not true. I believe that in every religion, there is always a little fundamentalist group. I don’t like to talk of Islamic violence because every day, when I go through the newspapers, I see violence, someone killing his girlfriend, someone killing his mother-in-law, and these are baptised Catholics. If I speak of Islamic violence, then I have to speak of Catholic violence.” The Pope concluded by saying that he speaks regularly with imams. “I know how they think, they are looking for peace.”

To which the editorial added, “We all seek peace. It is but the most evil and just a few who try to divide us.”