Baptist letters to Muslim, Jewish communities
In light of recent escalating tensions involving some faith communities, the Baptist Union has sent letters of support to Jewish and Muslim counterparts in the UK
It has been reported that British Jews are frightened to attend synagogue and shops in the wake of terror attacks in Paris earlier this month, while Home Secretary Theresa May said the Government would redouble efforts to wipe out anti-semitism following a spike in hate crimes. Islam is also in the spotlight, with atrocities committed by extremists leading to suspicion and antagonism of its communities.
On Friday (23 January 2015) the Baptist Union sent letters to the Muslim Council of Britain and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The letters were authored by Baptist Union General Secretary Lynn Green and written in partnership with the Baptist Inter Faith Working Group.
Both letters offered prayerful support to the respective communities, especially those now living in fear. They also spoke of a Baptist commitment “to speak out and uphold your right to freedom of speech and belief as a demonstration of our underlying values of freedom of conscience and respect for others,” as well as a commitment to stand together against “violent and extremist and terrorist acts carried out in the name of God”.
By standing together and speaking well of one another, the letters spoke of the hope that “we can be catalysts for creating a more secure world where all human life is respected, appreciated and valued.”
Should they feel it appropriate to do so, Baptist churches are invited to send a copy of the letter to neighbouring mosques or synagogues.
Minister Andy Williams moderates the Baptist Inter Faith Working Group. He said, ‘In the light of recent events it is very important for faith communities to affirm and develop their good relationships with one another so that they can respond together when appropriate.’
Copies of the letters can be found here:
Letter to the Muslim Council of Britain
Letter to the Board of Deputies of British Jews
Baptists have a long history of supporting freedom of religion, and the Baptists Together website has lots of resources to help inter faith engagement, including: