Singapore Archbishop warns against falling for terrorists' "trap"
In the wake of the recent terrorist bombings in Bali and the Philippines, Archbishop Nicholas Chia of Singapore has warned against "falling into the trap of identifying terrorism with Islam".
He said he doesn't think the recent attacks in Indonesia and the Philippines will have a negative effect on Christian-Muslim relations in the region.
Archbishop Chia stressed it must be "made clear that the crime cannot be ascribed to Islam as a religion."
"There are some fundamentalist Muslim groups that want to break Islam's relations with other religions, but we must avoid falling into the trap of identifying terrorism with Islam," the archbishop added.
He said that it "is difficult to say whether this is part of a plan to destabilise South East Asia."
In statements published by the missionary agency Fides, the archbishop added: "Bali, for example, was known as a very peaceful holiday resort. Such an attack can only have been carried out by people with no respect for human life. Perhaps the aim was to strike foreigners."
The archbishop is convinced that the Church has an important role to play in the present situation.
"The Church must speak out courageously against terrorism and fundamentalism, while promoting dialogue and harmony and peace and brotherhood among all believers," he said. "Today, in Singapore, we Catholics continue to hold meetings for dialogue. All is calm. The government has the situation under control."
'Never to war! Never to terrorism!' (The Catholic News, Singapore)
Archbishop Nicholas Chia (catholic-hierarchy.org)
Veritas (Archdiocese of Singapore)
25 Oct 2002