CHRISTIANS have reacted with shock and horror to the shootings
in Copenhagen in which a Jewish man who was guarding a synagogue
and a filmmaker standing outside a debate on free speech were
A 22 year-old man whom Danish police have named as their
suspect, Omar El-Hussein, was shot dead by officers shortly after
the attack on the synagogue last week. Five police officers were
also injured in the two attacks and the final shooting, which ended
in Mr El-Hussein's death.
The Archbishop of Canterbury released a statement on Monday
expressing his sympathy for the victims of the attack, as well as
for Christians murdered in Libya and Nigeria by Islamist extremists
in recent days. "The terrible cruelty of the murders in Denmark,
Libya, and Nigeria call for deep compassion for the bereaved and
killed," he said. "We must all weep with those affected, and know
that in the love of Christ all evil will be overcome." He called
for the governments of the countries affected to be "wise and
Jewish schools and synagogues in Britain, already on high alert
after the attacks on a kosher delicatessen in Paris last month,
have been told to increase their security. The Community Security
Trust, which monitors anti-Semitic incidents, has sent a security
briefing to Jewish institutions, and police patrols in Jewish
neighbourhoods have been increased.
Mr El-Hussein, who, police said, was radicalised while in prison
and was known to the security services, was believed to have been
targeting Lars Vilks, who had drawn provocative cartoons of
Muhammad in the past, and was speaking at the free-speech
The National Council of Churches in Denmark issued a joint
statement with the country's Muslim Council the day after the
murders. They said that the attacks "arouse disgust both at home
and abroad - and rightly so".
"As citizens we must cherish democracy and the right to gather
to exchange opinions or to practise our faith without fear of
losing our lives," they said. "Attacks like those that happened in
Copenhagen are attacks on humanity.
"We of Christianity or Islam are, together with Jews, all
children of Abraham, and ought to care for each other, help and
support each other. Today we are all one family. Disagreement is
expressed in conversation - not in violence and attacks."
The Anglican congregation of St Alban's, Copenhagen, began
Sunday's service with a period of silence, followed by a prayer for
the victims of the violence. The Chaplain, the Revd Darren
McCallig, said that some of his parishioners were at the theatre
that was hosting the debate earlier in the day on which the attack
took place to prepare for a play that opened on Wednesday.
"So, I would say that people are pretty shook-up, but determined
to not allow these dreadful events to prevent them from going about
their daily lives," he said.
At Copenhagen Cathedral, which is close to the synagogue that
was attacked, the congregation took flowers from the altar and
added them to a tribute of flowers and candles outside the front
gate of the synagogue.
In Britain, the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) said in a
statement on Monday: "We stand united with the Jewish and Christian
communities worldwide in supporting the Jewish community in
Copenhagen . . . and wish to offer our condolences to the families
and communities affected by these tragedies. We pray that religious
communities across the world can live in security and peace without
fear of being attacked for their religious belief or practice."
The CCJ has also launched a new campaign - "Still An Issue" - to
raise awareness of anti-Semitism. They said that there had been a
huge response to it from their supporters. One interfaith officer
in the Church of England had suggested that Christians walk with
their Jewish neighbours to the synagogue on the sabbath to show