13.01.15 | Press Reports, News

Je suis Charlie – I Am a Nazarene

EMS Defends Freedom of Belief and Religion

"The horrible terrorist attacks in the name of God in Paris last week only serve to remind us of how the name of God nowadays is being abused by terrorists who invoke it to justify their acts of murder and violence. Whoever kills in cold blood while calling upon God, actually insults God and all persons of faith," comments Rev. Habib Badr, President of the National Evangelical Church of Beirut in Lebanon. "Christians and Muslims use the same name for God - "Allah." And "Allah" in Christianity and Islam is a God of love, peace and mercy, not of hatred, death and violence. We therefore condemn all cruelties perpetrated in the name of God and of religion. But at the same time, we also call upon all people to respect each others' religions and beliefs, and not to provoke their neighbours by inciting insults, hatred and uncalled for ridicule. We extend our deepest sympathies to the victims of these attacks and to their families. Peace-loving Arab Christians and Muslims in Lebanon and the Middle East are surely praying (and in Arabic!) for the victims and for their families."

The Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS), to which German, Arabic, Asian and African Churches and associations belong, calls to mind that terrorist movements torpedo the peaceful co-existence of religions in many parts of the world today. "In North-East Nigeria, Boko Haram has just massacred untold persons in the city of Baga and surrounding area. The entire Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) with its membership of several hundred thousand persons has been living in constant fear for years now. People are slaughtered solely because of their Christian faith. Girls are abducted and forced to convert. All this receives only sporadic coverage in the media. Yet the scope of these crimes is comparable to that of the misdeeds of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq," relates Jürgen Reichel, EMS General Secretary.

"We call attention to the fact that terrorist attacks are now taking place in many countries simultaneously," Reichel continues. For this reason, we have posted two symbols at the entrance of our building in Stuttgart: "Je suis Charlie" and the Arabic "Now". Many Christians and Muslims in the Middle East have placed these symbols on their homes in order to express their solidarity with Christians tormented by the Islamic State. Whoever wishes to defend freedom of belief in Europe must stand up for religious freedom in Africa and the Middle East as well."

As EMS Chairperson Marianne Wagner plainly states, "EMS stridently opposes those who question religious freedom for Muslims in Europe. We support rallies and initiatives in favor of peaceful co-existence between persons of different faiths. All EMS Member Churches observe that people live side by side in peace as long as their differences are not exploited and no one attempts to claim exclusive authority for his or her group. Also in Germany all people of goodwill need to work together and stand up for a peaceful cooperation in freedom."

Press contact: Regina Karasch-Böttcher, Karasch@ems-online.org, Tel. +49 711 636 78 85

Information: Jürgen Reichel, Reichel@ems-online.org, Tel. +49 711 636 78 23