Yesterday, the world was rocked yet again by tragic news motivated to inspire fear in people’s hearts. In Paris, France, satirical publication Charlie Hebdo was victim to mass shootings – the worst the city has seen in decades. Meanwhile, in Sanaa, the capital city of Yemen, a bomb exploded outside the city’s police academy, killing 37 people and injuring many others.
Our collective family prays for those lost in these horrific attacks. We think of our Cooperation Circles in the area – Coexister in France and Youth of Peace in Yemen – who work tirelessly to counter the hate and fear that motivate these killings.
Here are some of those messages of support from our global community. We invite you to include your own in the comments below.
For Paris , France --
After the attack to the Paris office of the French Magazine Charlie Hebdo, Coexister Interfaith Youth Movement wishes to express its shock, fear and sadness at such an act of barbarism. We are deeply affected by what has happened.
This odious act affects not only journalists, police officers, their families and friends, to whom we offer our condolences. It affects our national community. It undermines social cohesion of our country, our citizenship, France. Freedom of the press and opinion are part of the foundations of our democracy. And this freedom is not negotiable.
We seek to promote respect for all, all faiths, all convictions. We also defend the right to criticism, caricature and derision. Freedom is a precious asset is our common heritage.
Extremism, wherever it comes from, must be fought and put out of harm's way. Against all fundamentalism, against fanaticism that disfigure the image of the communities they claim to represent. It is urgent to work for national unity. The intolerance must be fought, ignorance defeated.
"They wanted to put France on her knees, instead let us send them a message. We are here in solidarity and united. The goal of terrorists is to divide a population that is the victim. Panic, division, or denouncing a culprit in our national community would prove them right," said Samuel Grzybowski, Chairman of Coexister.
It is time for the Republic to emerge.
For freedom of expression, brotherhood among citizens
The National Office of the Coexister Association
Dear URI family, please join me in solidarity towards our sisters and brothers in Paris following today's horrific act of violence. Let us pray for all the families who have lost their loved ones, let us send healing to those who have been injured and peace for the souls of those who were killed.
Kiran Bali, MBE JP, Global Council Chair
We awake this morning to the news of the terrible violence in Paris. Let me add my voice to that of Kiran's in sending thoughts, prayers and love to all those affected. And also acknowledge and honor the courage of all sisters and brothers working for justice and peace in the midst of conflict. Non-violence is the path to peace, and acts of terror will not move us from our commitment to seeking peace among all inhabitants of our planet. May peace prevail in Paris and around the world.
Victor Kazanjian, Executive Director
Yes, we join you with our prayers for families and friends of victims of this act of terrorism that lived today people in París. I hope that our work in URI will help to stop violence and to build cultures of peace at this difficult moment of our Earth.
Enoé Texier, Regional Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean
For Sanaa, Yemen --
News reports have come in that there was also a terrible bombing in Sanaa, Yemen last night. It was only a few weeks go that I sat in Amman, Jordan with two remarkable young men who are the leaders of URI CC Youth of Peace, which is based in Sanaa. Youth of Peace works to restore relationships between Yemeni from different faiths through organizing entertainment and sport activities. We send our prayers and love to all those impacted by this violence and particularly to our brothers and sisters in Youth of Peace - be strong in the face of this violence and know that you are loved and supported by the global community of URI.
Victor Kazanjian, Executive Director
Many thanks for bringing up the ongoing violence in Yemen to the attention of URI global community. Our CC in Yemen, Youth for Peace CC, is doing great work to bring together people from all religious diversities to restore trust and harmony in the country.
May peace prevail in Yemen, may peace prevail in MENA, may peace prevail on earth.
In love and peace,
Mamoun Khreisat, Regional Coordinator for Middle East and North Africa
For both Paris and Sanaa –
May the people in Paris and Sanaa feel our prayers and receive some comfort from the care of so many from around the world.
May Peace Prevail on Earth,
Monica Willard, URI Representative to the United Nations
May our clear and passionate intention for peace direct us through these devastating outbursts of violence and tenderly guide us to healing and reconciliation at the deepest core of our hearts. May our connection to our Higher Power inform our compassion for one another. May we all be diligent in our commitment to peace and may this commitment transform senseless acts of violence into a peace that surpasses all understanding. May we send our prayers for the families and communities affected by the recent bombings and may peace prevail in Paris and in Sanaa! May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Audri Scott Williams, Global Council Trustee for Multiregion
In Yemen and Paris today, and in several other parts of mother Earth, men and women have surrendered to the forces of evil and become instruments of human destruction. While these daily reports of violence and killing hit the airwaves and into our rooms and offices, we and our children (custodians of the future), watch with shock and disdain.
One message comes out clearly out of this- In order to positively transform the evil intentions and acts of the few, the many good people around the world must continue to work in unison. This is no longer time to sit on the fence. We are all affected, directly or indirectly- each one of us- no matter at what corner of mother Earth we reside. As peacebuilders, we must sacrifice all that we have- our time, our voices, our energies, talents and skills- just everything. Nothing can be too much for peace in the world
It shall be well with us.
Emmanuel Ivorgba, Regional Coordinator for Western Africa
We join you all in offering prayers for the bereaved families, who have lost their loved ones. Let us all strive for the end of such days, that take away the joy of Christmas and the new year.
Abraham Karickam, Regional Coordinator for Asia - India South Zone
I also watched the events of what happened in Paris and those involved saying they were from Yemen. Thank you to the youths working for peace. We pray that the generations to come can have total respect for human lives irrespective of one's faith or ethnic background.
Despina Namwembe, Regional Coordinator for URI Africa - Great Lakes
We join your prayers. Our minds and hearts are with the victims. So we build round the world a cordon of good will, good wishes and solidarity.
These terrible events show us how it is necessary that we are standing together!
Peace prevail on earth,
Marianne Horling, Global Council Trustee for Europe
It is very painful, disturbing and shocking to read about these recent terrifying incidents of Violence and terrorism in Sanaa, Paris and earlier in Peshawar. I join you in praying for respect, tolerance and reconciliation around the globe! This situation challenges us even more to carry on our peace and harmony work of URI.
fr James Channan OP, Regional coordination for URI Pakistan