World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit condemned attacks across the world that have occurred during a violent week during which many have lost their lives or lost their loved ones. "Violent attacks on innocent human beings in the name of any religion cannot be accepted, and should not be accepted by any religion."
On 26 December, the Islamic State sub-group in Nigeria has released a video claiming to show the killing of 11 Christians. The terrorist group declared that the executions were an act of revenge for the recent killing of their high-ranked leaders.
"In the strongest possible terms, we denounce these attempts to divide the Nigerian people by turning Christians against Muslims", Tveit said. "We must promote respect for human dignity in all circumstances, as well as for respect and diversity, to counter the hate and intolerance that are behind such acts of extreme violence", added Tveit.
With the latest escalation of violence in northwest Syria 12-26 December, civilians in Idlib governorate are again suffering from the devastating consequences of violence. More than 235,000 people have fled the Idlib region over the past two weeks, the UN reported.
"The Syrian people have already been subjected to too much conflict, and far too much bloodshed, destruction and displacement", said Tveit. "The churches of the world demand an end to it - an end to the suffering of the people. Enough fighting, chaos and death. It is time for peace, for respite, for dialogue, and for justice for the victims of atrocities perpetrated through these catastrophic years of violence."
In Somalia, a truck filled with explosives blew up at a busy intersection of the country's capital Mogadishu on 28 December, adding more suffering to a country plagued by an enduring strain of violent extremism. At least 76 people have died and 149 were injured. Many of them university students. No group has claimed responsibility for the bomb attack yet.
"Across the world, people who were living their daily lives - standing in line for shopping food, innocently walking in places that should be safe, attending worship - have been lost to their families and their communities, "said Tveit. "We condemn these senseless acts of violence. Let us strengthen our resolution to pursue peace and justice for all, dignity for all, the freedom to lead full lives for all."
Tveit encourage the WCC churches to hold those affected and killed in prayers, and called for ecumenical solidarity in the face of such attacks of terror and violence.
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