Relaymedia

Religious Leaders in Australia Condemn Terrorism

Leaders from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist communities gathered in Melbourne on the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks to pray for the victims and condemn terrorism.
( [email protected] ) Sep 11, 2004 03:58 PM EDT

A congregation of religious leaders from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist communities gathered in Melbourne on the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the U.S. to pray for the victims and to condemn terrorism.

Leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Buddhist communities congregated at Australia's biggest mosque upon the invitation from Ibrahim Dellal, the acting president of the Turkish Islamic community.

As they gathered at the Sunshine mosque, the leaders prayed for the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the U.S., and also spoke on the topic of terrorism which has affected people of all nations, ethnicities, religions, and beliefs.

Dellal said his community had been angered by the terrorists who have been killing in the name of the muslim religion. "A Muslim cannot be a terrorist and a terrorist cannot be cannot be a Muslim," he said.

"Anybody that does these kind of things certainly they are not Muslims.

"It is not an Islamic practice, it is not done, you cannot take a life because you have not given a life, it is not up to us."

The gathering was held only two days after a car bomb outside the Australian embassy in the Indonesian capital Jakarta killed at least eight people and injured 168, blowing off the building's security gates and leaving a three-meter crater in the road. The blast came just weeks before elections in Indonesia and Australia

Commenting on the attack, spokesperson for the Indonesia Catholic Bishops’s Conference, Fr Ignatius Ismartono, said it was "an action against public civility."

“We can stop violence and terrorism,” he told Italy-based AsiaNews, “only when more and more people, regardless of their political background, join together to defeat the terrorists”.

Theophilus Bela, secretary of Jakarta Christian Forum, commented “We hope security and government forces can combat terrorists so that we can have a safe presidential election.”

On an Islamic website, Jemaah Islamiyah, a terrorist organisation linked to al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack. “We decided to call Australia to account, which we consider one of the worst enemies of God, and God's religion of Islam,” the statement said.

“A mujahideen (holy warrior),” it went on to say, “was able to execute a martyrdom operation with a car bomb in front of the embassy”.

Investigators are still verifying the message’s authenticity.