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Parliament Statement on Easter Sunday Terrorism and Recent Rise in Extremist Violence

March 28, 2016

The Parliament Condemns Easter Sunday Attack on Pakistani Christian Minority

Stands with Innocent Civilian Victims of Worldwide Extremism

Promotes Marrakesh Declaration, Interfaith Harmony as Practical Means to Dismantle Global Terrorism

The Parliament of the World’s Religions expresses our heartbreak over the incomprehensible events of Easter Sunday in Lahore, Pakistan, where Christians celebrating one of the holiest and happiest of Christian occasions were targeted at a family-centered amusement park by an extremist suicide bomber.
Sunday’s attack in Pakistan follows several violent episodes claimed by affiliates of terrorist networks devastating European, Middle Eastern, and African cities in the past week.
Parliament of the World’s Religions Executive Director Rev. Dr. Larry Greenfield commented, “We join with people of faith and conscience everywhere in expressing our grief over the attacks on a Christian minority in Lahore, Pakistan, resulting in more than 70 deaths, and hundreds of injuries of mostly women and children. We also offer our deepest gratitude to those many Pakistanis who are donating blood and providing care for survivors.”
He added, “May our differences in faith cease to be a cause for this kind of suffering, but a reason to find ways of protecting life for all.”
The Parliament remains committed to confronting war, violence and terrorism with love and compassion through strengthening the cooperation of interfaith communities and advocating the teachings of nonviolent solutions.
More than 120 leaders of faith-based and international organizations in Muslim-Majority countries are contributing to the work to end terrorism in the endorsement of the recent Marrakesh Declaration to affirm the rights and protection of religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries.
In working to confront the terrorism crisis around the world, and in remembering the long history of peaceful coexistence between Islamic communities and neighboring non-Muslim communities, we echo in particular the following sentiments published in the Marrakesh Declaration of January 2016:
“[We] call upon the various religious groups bound by the same national fabric to address their mutual state of selective amnesia that blocks memories of centuries of joint and shared living on the same land; we call upon them to rebuild the past by reviving this tradition of conviviality, and restoring our shared trust that has been eroded by extremists using acts of terror and aggression;
[We] call upon representatives of the various religions, sects and denominations to confront all forms of religious bigotry, vilification, and denigration of what people hold sacred, as well as all speech that promote hatred and bigotry; AND FINALLY,
[We] AFFIRM that it is unconscionable to employ religion for the purpose of aggressing upon the rights of religious minorities in Muslim countries.”

The like-minded conviction of the leadership of all faiths in every country will be needed to break the cycle of war, hate and violence, with the support of media and policymakers.
We commend the bravery of all neighbors in faith who have committed to defend, love, and support one another. May our words and actions remain sensitive to our critically-needed work in peacebuilding and reconciliation, and may we keep the Pakistani nation in our hearts and prayers over the hard days to come.