On behalf of our 50 national religious member communities, Religions for Peace USA lifts up prayers and sends our deepest condolences to the victims of the sickening attack this morning in Orlando, Florida, that left 50 people dead and 53 injured.
There is no excuse for such brutality. Such attacks wound our shared humanity and confront us with a stark choice: to mimic the hatred we see or to make a bold commitment to overcome it. For Religions for Peace USA, the interconnected nature of our world means simply this: we must all become peace-makers now. For, if we respond to every act of violence with a thirst for yet more violence in revenge, we will undoubtedly succeed in little more than inflicting unspeakable suffering on one another. There must be a dedication to seeking and building a future in which the chains of suffering and violence are broken.
Religions around the world call us to our highest and best values — values which lead us to courageous peace-making on every level. We, therefore, urge people everywhere, to make a fresh commitment to building a world of peace and justice and doing all we can to renounce violent language and actions wherever they arise. This requires that we must reach beyond and across lines of human difference – religion, race, nationality and sexual identity – to form active relationships that honor and protect the lives, humanity and dignity of all.
We urgently call on people of faith and goodwill everywhere to recommit ourselves to peacemaking, to heal all wounds of violence and injustice; to build bridges of hope and to bring down walls of fear and hatred. Cruel suffering like we see inflicted on people in Orlando demands that we become more determined than ever to enter places where violence has already left deep pain and suffering, and in their place bring healing, justice and peace.
What Can We Do Now?
- Calls, letters and emails of support from individuals and organizations to people in the communities affected by this tragedy are an important way to convey your concern.
- Many communities are holding community-wide, multi-religious vigils. We encourage everyone to attend or organize one in your area.
- Look for a multi-religious organization or other community service organization in your area to join and become an active, long-term advocate for peace and well-being of all people where you are.
- Remember that faithful Muslims and Muslim organizations are incredibly horrified and distressed by actions like this, as any of us would be if the person perpetrating such crimes claimed to be acting in the name of our group. Help amplify the voices of those who seek to heal wounds, build bridges and bring down walls of hate.
- You can find links to more statements about the Orlando tragedy on our website: www.rfpusa.org. Please note that Muslim organizations are again speaking out very clearly about their repudiation of such actions in the name of their religion.
June, 12, 2016