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Condemnation of hate crimes in France

Acts of terror committed in south-western France in March 2012 have been condemned in the strongest terms by the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.

22 March 2012

It is with dismay and deep sadness that I heard of the attack on the school in Toulouse, and the murder there of three young Jewish children, and the father of two of them. My heart goes out to those who have been bereaved and those who have been injured. My prayers are with them.

The WCC forcefully condemns acts of violence targeted at particular groups on account of their religion or ethnicity. We consider that this is terror against all of us, and should be condemned particularly by all of us who worship the One God, the Creator of all.

We are of course only too aware of the dark history of violence against the Jewish people, especially in Europe, and the shameful story of anti-semitism in Europe and elsewhere. Yet, as when we experienced a not dissimilar tragedy in Norway last July, I am touched by the way that so many people in France have expressed so strongly their solidarity with those who have suffered in this week's attacks. They have been determined to make clear how repugnant are the actions of the gunman.  As citizens of Europe in the twenty-first century, they clearly cherish the rich diversity in our societies today as one of the fruits of the influence of Christian tradition in our continent and world.

With people of all faiths and traditions, we condemn the murderous acts of recent days. We call for prayer and practical support on behalf of the families of victims at the school in Toulouse, of the French soldiers and police who have been killed or wounded this month, and of all who have been affected by this horrible outbreak of violence. By God's grace, may we rediscover our proper relationship as neighbours called to love one another and live together in justice and peace.

Olav Fykse Tveit
General secretary
World Council of Churches