International Humanitarian, Bishop Joseph D’Souza, responds to Normandy attack
Father Jacques Hamel, killed in the Normandy Church attack. Image Courtesy: The Guardian <theguardian.com>
Press Statement – For Immediate Release
Contact: Johnnie Moore for Dalit Freedom Network, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 (434) 426-5310
“Blindness to – or denial of – this phenomenon has allowed the rapid propagation of extremism within free democracies.”
Hyderabad, India – Following the terrorist attack in Normandy, France, where an 84-year-old priest was executed in his church, and the series of attacks in Germany, where in the last eight days ten people have been killed and dozens more injured, Most Rev. Dr. Joseph D’Souza — president of the All India Christian Council and the Moderating Bishop of the Good Shepherd Church — released the following statement:
“Today, the collective heart of the global, Christian church is shattered yet again at the news of another martyr. This decade will go down in history as one of the bloodiest in all of Christian history. This time the victim is an 84-year-old Catholic priest. Incomprehensible. His throat was slit alone because of his commitment to Jesus Christ. In the face of this hate, we choose to celebrate the life of this dear priest, and we recommit ourselves to doing all we can to stop terrorism and to bring peace to our streets.
“While everyone understands that vast majority of Muslims are peaceful we must address with the clarity of thought that the pervasive radicalization of Muslims by some of their leaders is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it is now a growing phenomenon, bringing barbarism daily to the streets of Europe. Blindness to – or denial of – this phenomenon has allowed the rapid propagation of extremism within free democracies. Governments must treat these non-traditional threats with the same vigilance that they would treat someone bombing their shores.
“As an Indian, I live and serve in a country that has been fighting religious terrorism for my entire life, and what I know is that communities of faith and civil society must work together in order to cut this menace off at the root. What I also know is that there is almost always evidence of radicalization in the life of an individual.
“Government agencies and civil societies need to accept that this is a new reality of the modern world, and they need to find better ways to monitor what is going on within these radical groups. We have been too slow to action, and too slow to cooperation. It is the responsibility of Christian, Muslim, Hindu and all religious communities to be watchful of radicalization within their own communities if they want to preserve freedom and democracy for all society.
“Playing the role of a bystander when the process of radicalization is going on is not an option any more. No matter the religion, the west can no longer ignore the radicalization of religion that leads to violence.”
Most Rev. Dr. Joseph D’Souza is the Moderating Bishop of the Good Shepherd Church and Associated Ministries of India. He also serves as the President of the All India Christian Council. He is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades for his work as a human rights activist. He is also the founder and International President of the Dalit Freedom Network.
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