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Archbishop of Canterbury: 'Build bridges, not walls'

Posted on: September 24, 2001 1:02 PM
Related Categories: Abp Carey, Interfaith

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, has called for "the building of bridges not walls" with Britain's Muslim communities and expressed his deep respect for Islam.

In remarks prepared for delivery at a dinner at Lambeth Palace in honour of the Lord Mayor of London, Dr Carey said: "At a time when many Muslims in this country are living in fear, I want to say loud and clear that as a Christian leader I deeply respect your faith and believe that our common duty is to extend the hand of friendship, and to build bridges not walls."

With senior Arab and Middle Eastern representatives present at the dinner, Dr Carey added:

"Very few people here regard the events of last week as having anything to do with the true values of Islam. Such actions negate the tenets of Islam as they do of Christianity."

Focusing on the impact of the tragedies on the City of London, Dr Carey told his guests:

"The City of London of course has very close links with New York but the atrocity goes much deeper than just professional ties between two trading centres. There are London businessmen and women who will not be returning because they were lost in the devastation. Our hearts go out to their families and firms."

Last Friday, Dr Carey gave the address at a service of remembrance at St Paul's Cathedral, in the presence of the Queen and the Prime Minister, as well as hundreds of members of the American community in London. At that time he said: "For the flower of democracy to flourish it must grow in the soil of justice. Those responsible for such barbaric acts must be held to account. But we must be guided by higher goals than mere revenge. As we battle with evil, our goal must be a world where such violence is a thing of the past."

Dr Carey and other senior faith leaders in Britain also issued a joint statement from the steps of Lambeth Palace last week condemning the attacks. They said: "It is vital amid so much anguish and suffering to nourish all that we hold in common and to resist all that would drive us apart."