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Religious leaders unite to condemn terrorist attacks

Bishop Riscylla Shaw of the Toronto Diocese of the Anglican Church prays with her fellow ministers, priests, pastors and imams at the Al-Rayan Islamic Centre. (Photo by Stefany Harris)

By Stefany Harris/Oshawa Express intern

In light of the recent terrorist attacks in multiple places of worship, local religious leaders of different backgrounds gathered together to condemn these actions.

Lead by Imam Gomaa Gomaa at the Al-Rayan Islamic Centre in Courtice, the meeting was open to any minister, priest, pastor, or imam.

Religious leaders from across Durham Region attended the meeting.

Gomaa Gomaa asked them to join him in forming a close and interactive group where they could discuss these issues in a safe space.

Beginning with a joint prayer led by The Right Reverend Riscylla Shaw of the Toronto Diocese of the Anglican Church of Canada, the group paid their respects to the lives that were lost, and unified their solidarity to condemn the attackers.

“In light of these horrific and violent, wicked acts that have robbed us of loved ones, family, friends, relatives and faith, let these actions not rob us of peace, safety, and freedom to worship and walk in faith together,” Shaw said.

Many lives have been lost and families left in sorrow due to these terrorist attacks. In Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, at least 250 people have been killed, and around 500 others have been injured after an extremist group attacked many churches and hotels in multiple cities with suicide bombers.

At least 250 people were killed and another 500 injured after suicide bombers from a local Islamist extremist group, National Thowheed Jamaath, attacked a number of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

A California synagogue and a Protestant church in Burkina Faso were also attacked in late-April, leaving at least seven lives lost.

The gathered group said by coming together, they were showing that “love and peace are stronger than the hatred that leads to acts of violence.”

“As faith communities in Canada, we stand together, offering our condolences and prayers for all the victims of these terrorist attacks. With a united voice we reject all forms of hatred, violence, and discord,” the local leaders said in a joint media statement.