Catholic and Muslim aid agencies join forces

 Two of the UK's leading Catholic and Islamic aid agencies, have joined forces to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, giving a powerful message that the current crisis is not a battle between Islam and Christianity. In a joint statement issued by Dr Hany El Banna Director of Islamic Relief and Julian Filochowski, Director of CAFOD, they say: "The crisis faced by the world today is not a war between Islam and Christianity, or a conflict between Muslim and Catholic. Our agencies are proud to be working together to support the poorest and most vulnerable people whose plight has been both highlighted and exacerbated by recent events. We are equally committed to promoting human development and protecting human dignity, while drawing hope and inspiration from our respective faiths. We must not allow this conflict to be used by those who seek to divide us - in the UK and throughout the world." The two faith based agencies also echoed calls from around the world, for the international community to keep at the forefront of their minds, the humanitarian impact of any military response to the horrific tragedy of September 11th. CAFOD has pledged financial support to Islamic Relief's humanitarian programmes in Afghanistan. The agency still has local staff within the country, who stand ready to distribute what food stocks remain in their warehouses. Other staff in Pakistan have joined the desperate race to pre-position supplies of food, water, blankets and tents to cope with the massive influx of refugees.

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