CHRISTIANS must pray not
only for the victims of violence, but for those who perpetrate it,
the Archbishop of Canterbury said this week.
In an interview for Radio
4's World at One on Tuesday, conducted in the wake of
attacks in Kenya, Nigeria, and Pakistan, he said: "We pray for
justice, and particularly the issues around the anger that comes
when there is this kind of killing. But we are also called . . . to
pray for those who are doing us harm."
Asked why Christians were
being targeted, he said that "very often, you will find that what
has happened in what appears to be a religious conflict is that a
very large number of social and historical causes of violence have
been hung on the simple hook of 'they are of one faith, and we are
another.'" But he acknowledged that some Christians had been
attacked "because of their faith", as in Peshawar.
Events in Syria and Egypt
were also discussed. The Archbishop revealed that he had recently
spoken to the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to urge the
Government to "take the threat, particularly to the great
traditional Christian communities that have been there for well
over 1000 years . . . very seriously indeed".
In a blog published on
Monday, the Archbishop called for a week of prayer for hostages
around the world, and also for their captors. "We cannot pretend to
understand all the complexities of the situation, but we know that
such acts of hostage-taking . . . or extra-judicial killing are
In addition to the siege in Nairobi, he drew attention to the
kidnapping of Syrian priests, and to Camp Ashraf, in Iraq, where 52
people were recently found dead (News, 13 September). The
release of Archbishop Kattey of Nigeria (News, 20
September) gave rise to hope, he said.