Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai United a Planet

The terrorist attacks in Mumbai that left almost 200 people dead may have an unanticipated effect. While the goal may have been to spread terror and to destabilize the financial capital of a nation it also united a country. Religious leaders throughout India have condemned the attacks and voiced their support for the multicultural nation. Religious leaders around the world, from Pope Benedict XVI to the Archbishop of Canterbury have condemned the attacks.

The Pope released a letter expressing his condolences for the families of the victims. The World Council of Churches also strongly condemned the attacks. The world is united in its revulsion to the attacks. The challenge now will be for religious leaders of the world to come together in support of India without branding Islam as the enemy. This was not Islam, this was the act of fanatics and fanatics kill in the name of many religions. We would be hard pressed to find a region on the planet that does not have fanatics with the potential for great violence. That is why uniting in the face of such carnage is so important. That is why India must know it does not stand alone.

The challenge of the future will be to find ways to counter terrorism besides using force. “Soft Power”, including diplomacy, investment and multi-national and person-to-person contacts hold hope even if the results are not quick. This is a battle for the hearts and minds of the hurting, the angry and the forgotten. That is a challenge people of faith can take up knowing that love is not a weakness and not without impact. That is a challenge that may be waged by individuals and faith communities far more than between nations. So let us begin in earnest to care about the forgotten, help the deposed, feed the hungry so that others do not use the suffering of many as a recruitment opportunity for hate.

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