Dear Partners in Peace,
Religions for Peace is filled with sorrow for the innocent people killed in France. We cry out in anguish over their blood, which was shed to terrorize and divide people. We are in prayerful solidarity with their families and loved ones.
It saddens us unspeakably whenever religion is twisted and distorted to justify violence. Morally united across all our diverse religious traditions, we utterly reject and condemn violence committed in the name of religion. Not only is it profoundly cruel, cowardly and misguided; it is also a criminal behavior that needs to be addressed by all due legal means.
Together, we firmly reject the attempts to polarize and divide our religious communities. Are we to let these cruel and senseless murders fuel distrust and cycles of violence amongst diverse religious, cultural and political communities? With a single heart, we answer No!
Rather, we reaffirm---based on 45 years of experience day in and day out---that the diverse religious communities working together across the world in Religions for Peace are committed to taking concrete action together to respect religious differences, honor human dignity and advance our common good.
In our shock, sorrow and moral outrage, now is the time for sincere believers of all traditions to further commit to principled multi-religious collaboration for the common good. Let each religious community come to the defense of any other community whenever its members are under attack, slandered or scapegoated. We in Religions for Peace have found that this approach is a true way for each believer to honor his or her respective religious tradition. In doing so, we can as diverse religious believers also address together even the most misguided and hideous misuses of religions as we work to help build the Peace.
Yours in solidarity,
Dr. William Vendley