Church leaders reviled at Paris and Beirut terror attacks carried out in the name of religion

(Photo: REUTERS / Charles Platiau)People hold panels to create the eyes of late Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier, known as "Charb", as hundreds of thousands of French citizens take part in a solidarity march (Marche Republicaine) in the streets of Paris January 11, 2015. French citizens will be joined by dozens of foreign leaders, among them Arab and Muslim representatives, in a march on Sunday in an unprecedented tribute to this week's victims following the shootings by gunmen at the offices of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, the killing of a police woman in Montrouge, and the hostage taking at a kosher supermarket at the Porte de Vincennes.

Churches from around the world have condemned as despicable attacks in Beirut and Paris carried out in the name of religion that have claimed more than 170 lives, spawning fear and horror.

The World Council of Churches strongly condemned the latest terror attacks in Paris and Beirut, joining the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation. The World Evangelical Alliance also denounced the actions.

Jihadists claiming to fight the war in the name of Islam for the group calling itself IS said they perpetrated the gun and suicide attacks on a concert hall, at restaurants and bars, and outside France's Stade de France national stadium.

The terror attacks left a total of 129 dead and more than 300 injured in Paris and in Beirut 43 people were slain and more than 200 wounded.

The day before the Paris slayings, suicide attacks carried out by motorcyclists in Beirut claimed the 43 lives in the deadliest bombing in Lebanon's capital since the end of its civil war in 1990.

IS also said the Beirut attack was its work.

World leaders condemned the Paris attack and President Francois Hollande called the coordinated assault on Nov. 13 an "act of war", only 10 months after attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine rocked France.

Shortly after the Paris carnage the director of the Holy See press office, Father Federico Lombardi, said, "Here in the Vatican we are following the terrible news from Paris. We are shocked by this new manifestation of maddening, terrorist violence and hatred."

He said the Catholic Church condemned the attack "together with the Pope and all those who love peace" offering its prayers to "the victims and the wounded, and for all the French people."

"This is an attack on peace for all humanity, and it requires a decisive, supportive response on the part of all of us as we counter the spread the homicidal hatred in all of its forms."

Then in a statement on 14 November during a meeting near Geneva in Switzerland, the WCC executive committee called for justice mercy and peace.

"In the face of this brutality, the human family, all people of faith and of good will, must stand together to recommit to respecting and caring for one another, to protecting one another, and to preventing such violence."

"We cannot and do not accept that such a terrorist atrocity can ever be justified in the name of God or of any religion," said the WCC governing body which was holding a meeting.

"Violence in the name of religion is violence against religion. We condemn, reject and denounce it.

"Let us confront it by holding firm to and upholding the democratic, intercultural and human rights values that this terrorism seeks to attack."

The Geneva-based Lutheran World Federation also condemned in the "firmest terms the despicable attacks in Beirut and Paris" on Nov. 12 and 13, which caused massive loss of lives.


The LWF president Bishop Munib A. Younan and the general secretary Rev. Martin Junge conveyed their condolences "to all people suffering with the loss of the many lives that these attacks have caused."

"We pray for the victims of the attacks, as well as for those mourning and seeking consolation," Younan and Junge said in their statement.

They noted that the recent attacks should not discourage efforts by people of faith to work together to promote peace and justice, and reiterated an emphatic "No" to using religious motives to justify violence.

The World Evangelical Alliance said it was grieved by the multiple attacks in Paris and Beirut that reportedly took some 170 innocent lives and wounded many more.

Bishop Efraim Tendero, Secretary General of the WEA, said, "We condemn these coward acts of terrorism in the strongest terms and express our deepest condolences and solidarity with the people of France and Lebanon at this difficult time."

"We echo the words of our brothers and sisters in France who said: 'France is not alone! At this time, millions of Christians around the world are praying for our country.' Yes, we are praying for France and Lebanon, and we call on churches around the world to join us," said Tendero.

"Pray for hope, pray for healing, and pray for wisdom as the two nations seek the right way forward."

Western media were criticized for not devoting enough attention to the Beirut attack.

Indian blogger Karuna Ezara Parikh responded with a poem that went viral:

"It's not Paris we should pray for, it is the world," she wrote.

"It is a world in which Beirut, reeling from bombings ... is not covered in the press. A world in which a bomb goes off at a funeral in Baghdad, and not one person's status update says 'Baghdad' because not one white person died in that fire..."

European Union countries should submit to base reactions of rejecting refugees after the Paris attacks because the shooters were criminals, not asylum seekers, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said Nov. 15 speaking at Antalya in Turkey, Reuters news agency reports.

One of the Paris attackers was identified as having entered the EU through the Greek island of Leros on Oct. 3, with other refugees. On entering, he was identified and fingerprinted according to EU rules.

"The one responsible for the attacks in Paris... he is a criminal and not a refugee and not an asylum seeker," Juncker said

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