World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit condemned an attack at a mosque in Egypt during which hundreds of people are believed dead. Tveit expressed sorrow for the lives lost as news continued to unfold of the attack on 24 November.
People fleeing an explosion were gunned down at a Sufi mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai region, according to multiple news sources, in what appears to be the deadliest terror attack ever on Egyptian soil.
After at least two explosions, gunmen who were waiting outside the mosque opened fire at worshipers as they fled Friday prayers at al Rawdah mosque.
As the world expressed shock and dismay, Tveit urged people to continue to stand united against such violence, said Tveit. “We must condemn this attack on our Muslim brothers and sisters as a devastating disregard for human life,” he said, “and so painful to confront when people who are worshipping are targeted. We stand beside you, we walk with you and we will not allow this heinous act to divide us.”
In a letter to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, His Eminence Professor Dr Ahmad al-Tayyeb, Tveit expressed his profound condolences. “We pray that our Lord grants them comfort and healing,” he wrote. “We condemn strongly this tragic attack against our Muslim brothers during prayer time, in a place of worship dedicated to peace and devotion.”
Such brutal attacks perpetrated against all people of faiths, against mosques and churches, show that violence cannot be related to any religion, on the contrary, it aims at opposing the message of love and tolerance held by all religions, Tveit continued. “We believe that evil cannot prevail over God’s light and goodness,” he wrote. “We appeal to President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, to religious leaders and to governments across the region to ensure security in the face of violence and to guarantee justice for all people.”
Tveit also reiterated the WCC’s support to Al Azhar in its efforts countering the extremist ideology. “Combatting terrorism and extremism in the Middle East is our shared responsibility,” he wrote. “We remain committed to our collaboration and common work for peace and justice in the world.”