Czech religious organizations call on public to resist radicalism
The chair of the Czech Bishop's Conference, Dominik Duka, the chair of the Ecumenical Council of Churches, Daniel Fakfr, and the chair of the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic, Petr Papoušek, jointly called on the public today not to succumb to radicalism as a result of the anger they might feel over the Islamist terrorists in France. "It is still necessary to insist on the basic principles of an open society. We must primarily insist on freedom of speech, on human rights, and on mutual respect between cultures and religions, as well as on seeking the road of common coexistence," the religious leaders say in a statement made available to the Czech News Agency.
The religious leaders state that the terrorist attacks in France have filled them with deep sorrow and that they express their sincere condolences to the families of the victims. "Let us realize that that these actions are the desperate outcome of deeper tendencies and of pain over current events in the world," the statement reads.
In many people, according to the religious leaders, these events and others like them may spark the feeling "that there is a need to behave just as radically, that the last barriers to such behavior, their last moral defenses, have fallen." Three Islamist radicals terrorized France over the past few days and are responsible for the death of a total of 17 people and injuries to about 20 more.
French Police killed all three individuals responsible on Friday. They intervened in a location north of Paris against two of the assailants, who had shot dead 12 people in the editorial offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, at the same time as another armed man was murdering four more people and taking others hostage in a kosher grocery shop to the east of Paris.
Hundreds in Prague honor the memory of the victims of terrorism in Paris
This morning several hundred people gathered once more in front of the French Embassy in Prague to honor the memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris. People lit candles and signed a book of condolences.
Many were carrying black sheets of paper inscribed with "Je suis Charlie", a slogan expressing solidarity with the victims and support for freedom of speech. People began coming to the embassy starting on Thursday.
Candles, flowers and various messages have been left by the embassy wall. People have also left pencils there as a symbol of rejecting this terrorist action.
Tomorrow a march for national unity will take place in Paris and participants in that demonstration intend to express their respect for the victims of the terrorist attack. Many high state representatives will also attend, including Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and leading EU representatives Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk.
The Czech Bishop's Conference, led by Cardina Duka, brings together Catholic bishops in the Czech Republic. The members of the Ecumenical Council include many Christian Protestant churches as well as the Orthodox Church in the Czech Lands and the Old Catholic Church.
The Federation of Jewish Communities is an umbrella organization bringing together 10 Jewish communities in Bohemia and Moravia. Below is the full translation of the religious organizations' common statement:
Wednesday's assassination in Paris of the journalists of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and the horrible deeds of the subsequent days fill us with deep sorrow and we express our sincere condolences to the families of the victims. Let us realize that that these actions are the desperate outcome of deeper tendencies and of pain over current events in the world.
In many people, assassinations such as those carried out on Wednesday may spark the feeling that there is a need to behave just as radically, that the last barriers to such behavior, their last moral defenses, have fallen. In this situation, we express the conviction that despite the anger and pain that extremism and terrorism cause, it is still necessary to insist on the basic principles of an open society. We must primarily insist on freedom of speech, on human rights, and on mutual respect between cultures and religions, as well as on seeking the road of common coexistence.
In Prague 10 January 2015
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