(World Council of Churches) 26 November 2015 – Five religious leaders from Christian and Muslim communities in Cyprus have released a joint statement deploring all forms of attacks in the name of religion on their island, and in the whole world, saying they cannot be justified.
The five religious leaders of Cyprus actively engaged in dialogue and peacebuilding, called the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process (RTCYPP), released their statement on 25 November.
In their statement, the second in the history of Cyprus, the religious leaders “categorically condemn all forms of violence against innocent civilians.
“No war, no act of terrorism, atrocities or violent attacks against innocent people can be justified in the name of God Almighty or any religion or humanity. War begets war. Violence begets violence,” they said.
“All people of good will must stand together to respect, support and care for one another. Violence in the name of God is violence against religion itself.”
Cyprus is divided politically into two entities, however, the leaders of the five large main religious communities speak publicly in one voice following the Joint Declaration on the Cyprus peace process and the resumption of the negotiations, made in February 2014.
The Nov. 25 release is co-signed by HB Archbishop Chrysostomos II, H.E Mufti Talip Atalay, H.E Archbishop Nareg, H. E Archbishop Soueif and Rev Fr Jerzy Kraj.
The religious leaders reaffirmed that, “The dialogue we have experienced together has strengthened our conviction that there is no future without tolerance, respect and peaceful co-existence.
“With our different identities we have to be together as one human family, as people of every faith or none. We have a responsibility to preach, act and show that our shared respect for human life and dignity is stronger than evil acts of terror, and perversion of religion.”
They noted that their sacred texts call for the combatting of injustice and uplifting of the poorest in their midst.
● The full statement can be found on the website of each religious community or by contacting the Office of the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process.
The Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process (RTCYPP) was initiated in 2009 with the consent of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political leadership, the support of the Swedish Government under the leadership of the then President of the Religious Social Democrats of Sweden, Mr Peter Weiderud, currently the Director of the Swedish Institute Alexandria and President of the Human Rights Foundation of Sweden.