We have all been stunned by Friday’s tragic events in Paris and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families of the victims and those who survived what was a wicked and horrific act.
These attacks were evil. With their actions extremists sought to undermine community and to set communities and generations against each other. We must not let them succeed.
In the wake of wickedness and barbarity, the truth is always one of the first casualties – in this case, the truth about our Muslim neighbours. The actions of these extremists do not represent the views of Muslims locally or worldwide, and we call on all Christians to seek the truth and to challenge the mistruths, half-truths and outright lies about our Muslim neighbours that are so often pedalled at times such as these.
Our diocese has a long and proud history of pluralism and community diversity. Inevitably, there will be times when we have our differences – but the point is that we overcome these through dialogue and with compassion. To this end, we are continuing to work closely with community and faith leaders across Hampshire – as we always have done. But we must not ever allow ourselves to take what we have for granted. Jesus calls on us to love one another and we must work to build community wherever we find ourselves – whether in the workplace or in places of rest and relaxation. We call on all Christian communities to pray for peace – and to be part of the answer to that prayer.
The Rt. Rev Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester
The Rt. Rev Jonathan Frost, Bishop of Southampton
The Rt. Rev David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke