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Christian and Muslim Leaders Plea for Peace

20 March 2003

Press Release

Christian and Muslim Leaders Plea for Peace

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and The Muslim Council of Britain have today issued this joint statement:
Over recent months, there have been many expressions of concern from both Christian and Muslim leaders about the developing crisis over Iraq. They encouraged all involved to weigh carefully the human costs and other likely consequences of war, pleaded for the UN process to be respected in the interests of upholding international law, and counselled that another way of ensuring Iraq's compliance with UN Resolutions might be identified and agreed - while being firm in their abhorrence at the nature of the Saddam Hussein regime. This resort to war reflects, therefore, our collective failure.

The military action that began today is not something that either faith community wanted to see. It is entirely contrary to their hopes and prayers. As representatives of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and The Muslim Council, we stand together in our desire to see military action ended as quickly as possible.

In this time of crisis and deep disappointment, it is vitally important that, despite the occasional unhappy use of 'crusade' language by some American political leaders, none should see the conflict as one between faiths.

Both here and in Iraq more than one faith community is present. Relationships between our own religious communities could suffer from rising tension in the wake of hostilities developing between what, sadly, many in the world see as the 'Christian West' and 'Muslim East'. We must exercise the utmost caution to prevent opportunist elements from exploiting this state of affairs. Indeed, now that war has started, there is an even greater responsibility for Christians and Muslims to maintain bonds of harmony one with another and to pray for all caught up in the conflict.

Advice on contacting local churches and mosques can be sought from The Muslim Council and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

Signed on behalf of CTBI
Dr David Goodbourn
General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

Signed on behalf of MCB
Iqbal AKM Sacranie
Secretary General of The Muslim Council of Britain

[Ends]

Briefing notes

1. Churches Together in Britain and Ireland is the umbrella body for all the major Christian Churches in Britain and Ireland. It liaises with ecumenical bodies in Britain and Ireland as well as ecumenical organizations at European and world levels. Its work includes Church Life, Church and Society, Mission, Inter Faith Relations, International Affairs and Racial Justice. It provides a forum for joint decision-making and enables the Churches to take action together. See http://www.ctbi.org.uk

2. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is an umbrella organization dedicated to
work for the common good and for the betterment of the community and country.
The MCB is a body that is made up of major national, regional and local
organizations and institutions. It includes mosques, education and charitable
bodies, cultural and professional bodies, relief agencies and women and youth
groups. It encompasses the diverse range of linguistic and geographical cultures
that make up the mosaic of the British Muslim community. For further information
contact admin@mcb.org.uk or refer to http://www.mcb.org.uk

For further information please contact
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI)
Anne van Staveren
CTBI Communications Officer
020 7523 2137 or 07 939 139 881
http://www.ctbi.org.uk

The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 52, Wembley, Middlesex, HA9 0XW
Zahra Williams
Media Officer
Tel: 020 8903 9024 or 077 3421 9338 Fax: 020 8903 9026
Email: media@mcb.org.uk Website: http://www.mcb.org.uk
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