NEWSBLAST: Egypt Violence
Recent violence in Egypt has taken a particular toll on Christian communities. Scores of attacks have been carried out in a coordinated way on Christian houses of worship, institutions and private businesses and homes. These events remind some observers of the horrors of Nov. 9, 1938, when Jewish synagogues and institutions were set ablaze throughout Germany. Even a partial analogy to those events requires a reaction from religious leaders and bodies, so that a voice of objection, a voice of caring, be sounded, regardless of whether it is heard by the perpetrators.
In this spirit, the Elijah Board of Religious Leaders, wishes to remind all those who can listen and all those who can act, that:
1. Attacks on houses of worship of another religion are only a step away from attacks on the lives of members of that religion.
2. Whatever political differences may plague Egypt, we urge that these not be translated into hatred and enmity on religious grounds.
3. Houses of worship of all religions should be places of sanctity and refuge, places that are beyond societal struggles and manifestations of hatred.
4. We wish to point and to affirm the emerging universal code on holy sites, for treating religious sites of other religions, as this code gains increasing international support (Universal Code on Holy Sites).
5. Acknowledging that holy sites have been foci of contention or targets of destruction in many conflicts around the world, and bearing in mind the particular vulnerability of the holy sites of religious minorities, we join the authors of this code in recognising the positive role religious leaders can play in addressing conflicts pertaining to holy sites. Accordingly, we call on religious leaders on the international and the local level, especially in Egypt, to offer their communities a teaching of respect and peace for the sanctity of the lives and holy places of all.
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