WPOF statements against violence

September 2015

Refugee Crisis

 

WPOF Refugee Press Release

Woking People of Faith (WPOF) recognises Syrian refugees as human beings:  sisters and brothers from another country, not economic migrants but refugees trying to escape violence and provide their families with a decent, secure life.  We deplore the violence and conflict that gives rise to this exodus, and call upon leaders across the world to help work towards peace in the region.

In the meantime, we cannot walk by on the other side and ignore the plight of those who are fleeing. So we applaud the active assistance being provided by local people of all faith denominations.   For example, at the time of writing:

  • the Shah Jahan Mosque is taking in donations of winter clothing, shoes, blankets  until next week, when  a group from the mosque will go to Calais to distribute the donations;
  • members of the Byfleet Community are in St Mary’s Church Hall, packing up bags of much-needed items in partnership with gogetfunding.com and haslemeres-gift-of-hope, who are organising the donation and delivery of 'Bags of Hope' for the refugee children arriving daily in Kos;
  • pupils and staff at St. John the Baptist Catholic School have collected goods and clothing for shipment to Calais;
  • Bishop Richard Moth has sent out a Pastoral Letter to be read in all Catholic Parishes in Sussex and Surrey this weekend,  asking everyone in their parishes to provide information concerning accommodation, the teaching of English, legal and financial support and any other facilities that may be provided by the Catholic community to refugees;
  • the Baha’i community is raising money to send to Oxfam for medical aid.

WPOF firmly believes that people of faith must value all people, and cannot turn away from the suffering of our fellow human beings.

 


January 2015

Nous sommes tous Charlie

 

WPOF strongly condemns the appalling attack on the Parisian magazine Charlie Hebdo.

We live in a liberal democracy, with a right to free speech, including the right – within legal constraints – to say things which may offend some people.  That includes people of faith, who have the freedom to practise their religions, but must also accept that those religions can be the subject of critical comment.

Violence in the name of religion against free speech is a profanation of the Name of God.  WPOF represents a range of faiths, none of which endorse any form of destruction of human lives. We do not accept that any faith justifies such violence.

 

 

 

re August 2014: Escalation of violence in Iraq and Syria

Woking People of Faith (WPoF) believes that every human being is equal in dignity and shares the same basic human rights, by virtue of their creation by the one true God. Therefore, we abhor violence in the name of religion, as seen in Iraq and Syria at present.  

The behaviour of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) group in this region, giving Christians and many others (including Muslims) the choice of forced religious conversion or death, is a barbarous return to the Middle Ages, and a disgrace to all religion and to Islam in particular.  People of all faiths in WPoF unreservedly condemn it as a profanation of the Name of God. 

The history of the last 100 years, since the start of the Great War, has shown that wars and killing have not solved any dispute but have frequently led to further violence and disputes between peoples years or decades later.  

Eventually, competing people must learn to talk together and live together. Woking People of Faith encourages all people in conflict with one another to do so with courage and urgency.  


 

re August 2014 Violence in Gaza

Members of Woking People of Faith (WPoF) are united in their desire to see an end to all violence, destruction and killing in Gaza.  We believe that every human being is equal in dignity and shares the same basic human rights, by virtue of their creation by the one true God.  

 

We believe that people in this region have chosen the wrong path for resolving their disagreements and call upon every individual involved to recognise the dignity and worth of those whom they oppose – and to seek resolution peacefully.  Eventually, competing peoples must learn to talk together and live together. People of all faiths in WPoF encourage all people in conflict with one another to do so with courage and urgency.  

 

 

July 2014: In the light of violence in the Middle East

WPOF statement on the Middle East

WPOF strongly condemns the violence in the Middle East, not least that which is taking place in Syria and Iraq at present. Indeed, Woking People of Faith condemns all violence perpetrated in the name of religion, by any religious groups across the world.  

As People of Faith, we assert that the hallmarks of true faith are love for God and love for one another.  This shows itself in justice, generosity, self-sacrifice, compassion, the valuing of all life and active seeking after the transcendent.  We acknowledge that through history tribal conflicts have been played out under the banner of religion and we reject such violence as a profanation of the Name of God.  WPOF, representing a wide range of faiths, categorically states that we do not endorse, in any form,  the  destruction of human lives. We do not accept any faith that justifies violence towards, nor the killing of anyone.

In particular at this time, WPOF calls upon young British nationals to refrain from travelling to troubled regions to help their Muslim brotherhood. Whilst their intentions may seem to them honourable, there are better, more effective ways for them to provide support to their brothers and sisters in the Middle East.  The most effective is our praying, across our communities of faith, for a true and lasting PEACE.

WPOF is showing its solidarity to the victims of the current violence by holding a short peace vigil on

Sunday 13th July 2014

at 5.00pm

Al Asr Centre, 118 Goldsworth Road, GU21 6ND Woking Surrey.

 

September 2013: Comment on attacks in Kenya and Pakistan

"WPOF strongly condemns both the attack by gunmen at the Westgate shopping mall, Kenya on 21 September 2013 and the bombing outside a Church in Peshawar, Pakistan on 22 September 2013.

WPOF strives to bring together members of different faith communities to celebrate our diversity and to serve the wider community.  We reject these cowardly attacks on humanity.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families affected by these tragic incidents."

 

22nd May 2013: Woking People of Faith condemns the Woolwich attack

 

Woking People of Faith (WPOF) strongly condemns the barbaric killing of a soldier in Woolwich on Wednesday 22 May.
WPOF represents a range of faiths, which all call for peace and do not endorse any form of destruction of human lives. We do not accept that any faith justifies such a brutal attack and killing.
All of Woking’s faith communities, including the Muslim communities, recognise and admire the valuable work of the British armed forces and their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way to protect us.
WPOF call upon all communities and faith groups to unite to resist and speak out against any adverse reprisals arising from this cowardly act. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family during this distressing time.

 

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Violence against the Shia Community in Karachi

March 2013, Woking People of Faith issued the following Statement condemning violence against the Shia community in Quetta and Abbas Town, Karachi

Multifaith group condemns religious massacre

 

Woking People of Faith (WPOF) has condemned the recent attacks on the Shia communities in Quetta and in Abbas Town, Karachi, and calls on the national and provincial authorities in Pakistan to provide better security for minority communities, and to work to bring peace and stability to all. The multifaith group calls on leaders from all communities to work together for the benefit of all. 

 

WPOF Chair The Rev Canon Richard Cook said:

 

" These acts defy both God’s and our shared humanity but they are shamefully enacted under the banner of religious belief.  As People of Faith, we assert that the hallmarks of true faith are love for God and love for one another.  This shows itself in justice, generosity, self-sacrifice, compassion, the valuing of all life and active seeking after the transcendent.

 

"We recommit ourselves to work in harmony and mutual respect with each other to bear witness to our shared values and to carry them into the wider communities of which we are part."

 

Dr Syed Naqvi, Imam of Woking's Shia Muslim Al-Asr Mosque, said:  "People of all religions and none need to show our strong support to the victims and condemn the terrorists who are ruining the lives of the Pakistani Shia community.”

 

Mr Asad Jamil Secretary  of Woking's Sunni Muslim Shahjahan Mosque Management committee, said:  "All Muslims should unite in the face of this senseless violence"

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On the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

On the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, Woking People of Faith worked with local faith leaders to write the following statement. The statement was read out at the public gathering in Woking Town Square (seeunder 'Events - Public meetings') and issued to the press as follows:

 

9/11: People of all faiths call Woking to affirm peace

 We meet together today, as servants of God, on the tenth anniversary of an event known simply as “9/11” when some

3,000 people died as a result of an act which defiled both God’s and our shared humanity but was shamefully enacted under the banner of so-called religious belief.

As People of Faith, we assert that the hallmarks of true faith are love for God and love for one another.  This shows itself in justice, generosity, self-sacrifice, compassion, the valuing of all life and active seeking after the transcendent.

These ethical values unite us. 

We acknowledge that religions developed historically within societies which themselves changed over time, and continue to do so. In the course of that process events have been instigated in the name of religion which cause us all to feel shame.

The consequences of 9/11 are still with us today. 

Not the least of these consequences is an increased tension between communities of all kinds and creeds. But it can never be the case that all members of any particular community can be blamed for actions falsely undertaken in its name.

So it is a falsehood that all Muslims are responsible for 9/11, just as it is a falsehood that all Jews are responsible for plotting the death of Jesus.  Dreadful events flowed from the latter, and our task is to ensure that they do not also flow from the former. Our desire is that the future is better than the past.

We therefore, as People of Faith, commit ourselves to work in harmony and mutual respect with each other to bear witness to our shared values and to carry them into the wider communities of which we are part.  May God bless us all in this endeavour, and may we glorify God’s Name in so doing.

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August 2009, following the murder of Christians in Pakistan, the following statement was released:

The Chair of Woking People of Faith, the Revd. Richard Cook, said, ‘'In Woking, we are glad to have good relationships between Christians and Muslims. All the people of Woking benefit because of these good relationships. And so, as the People of Faith together in Woking, representing Jews, Christians and Muslims, we make this statement.'

 Statement from Woking People of Faith

 The murder of Christians in Pakistan

Woking People of Faith strongly condemns the murder of Christians in Gojra , Pakistan that took place on Saturday 1st August 2009.

We call upon the authorities in Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of this crime swiftly to justice.

We also call upon religious leaders in our respective traditions to offer theological reflections upon these attacks; and especially, how our respective faiths address the problem of violence in people.

Woking People of Faith offers its deepest sympathies to the families affected by these acts of violence.

The Vice Chair of Woking People of Faith, Dr. Syed Naqvi, comments, ‘Islam is religion of peace and brotherhood by protecting lives and possessions of every one living around us. Muslims, Christians and Jews are working together in Woking in a friendly way under umbrella of WOKING PEOPLE OF FAITH.

Life of each and every person is respected one and no body has the right to kill.

We condemn this barbaric killings of Christians in Gojra, Pakistan. We demand from Government of Pakistan for a speedy trial and provision of justice to the victims.


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against violence

 

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