press

WEA chief asks international community to share same concern for acts of aggression against all faiths

September 10, 2010
September 10, 2010

The International Director of the World Evangelical Alliance, Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, has welcomed the unanimous condemnation of a Florida church’s plan to burn copies of the Koran, but asks that the same level of concern be shown when acts of aggression are committed against any faith.

In a statement (available in full below), Dr Tunnicliffe says that it is right to speak out “strongly” against the action planned by the Dove World Outreach Center, not because of “fear of repercussions” but because such an act is “fundamentally wrong”.

Dr Tunnicliffe goes on to question, however, whether the world’s leaders will be willing to stand up in future and show the same outrage when acts of aggression are committed against members of other faiths.

“It will be interesting to see how the world’s media and religious and political leaders respond to such scenarios in the future,” he says.

“Will they respond with the same kind of justifiable outrage as they have against the proposed burning of the Qur’an?

“If so, will they have the courage to speak up, not out of some concern for reciprocity or a fear of repercussions, but simply because it is the right thing to do?”

Dr Tunnicliffe points to a string of recent violent acts against Christians, all of which met with relative silence from the international community.

These acts include:

India
Radical Hindus waged a campaign of sustained violence against Christians in Orissa, India, in 2008, in which at least 70 people were killed, more than 4,000 homes were burnt down, at least 149 churches were destroyed, and some 54,000 Christians were left homeless (source: the All India Christian Council). Muslims were also targeted by the Hindu radicals.

Afghanistan
A radical politician recently stood up in parliament and called for the execution of people who convert to Christianity.

Israel
In 2008, the deputy mayor of the central Israeli town of Or Yehuda incited residents to burn hundreds of copies of the New Testament. Hundreds of students reportedly took part in the act, committed close to a synagogue.

Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka in recent years, churches have been burned to the ground, pastors have been assassinated, and radical Buddhist politicians have called for a new law that would significantly restrict the activities of local churches.


Read Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe’s statement in full here:

“Speaking out strongly against the proposed burning of Korans was the right thing to do and we warmly welcome the unanimous condemnation from politicians, religious leaders and the global media in this case.

“As we consider the outcry against this one small, obscure group, we now plead that the world’s leaders and media demonstrate the same kind of outspoken condemnation when radical actions on an equal or larger scale are committed against Christians.

“The list of violent acts committed against Christians in recent years goes on and on – brutal killings in Orissa, the burning of New Testaments in Israel, the assassination of pastors in Sri Lanka.

“Christians have reacted to these attacks with an attitude of non-violence but should their peaceful response mean that the rest of the world feels no need to cry out? Are actions only deemed wrong when there is a good chance that the victims, or those connected to them, will react in violence?

“It will be interesting to see how the world responds to such scenarios in the future. Will leaders react with the same kind of justifiable outrage as they have against the proposed burning of the Qur’an? If so, will they have the courage to speak up, not only out of some concern for reciprocity or a fear of repercussions, but simply because it is the right thing to do?”


World Evangelical Alliance (WEA): World Evangelical Alliance is made up of 128 national evangelical alliances located in 7 regions and 104 associate member organizations. The vision of WEA is to extend the Kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society. WEA exists to foster Christian unity, to provide an identity, voice and platform for the 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide.   

Contact: WEA Communication,: wea@worldevangelicals.org