Press Release June 2015

We, Christians and Muslims, are deeply shocked by the tragic events which took place in France, Kuwait and Sousse (Tunisia), on Friday 26th June 2015, with the loss of so many innocent lives We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives. We send our prayers and best wishes to John Metcalf from Hazlemere, who was injured in the attack.

Our communities stand firmly united in the fight against all forms of terrorism and the senseless acts of violence committed by ISIS, al Quaeda, Boko Haram and al Shabaab.  Unfortunately, although these groups are tiny in number, they claim to carry out these atrocities in the name of Islam. They do not. Islam, which is a huge Abrahamic faith, alongside Judaism and Christianity, is practiced by over 1.6 billion people in broad harmony and mutual respect with their fellow citizens around the world.

ISIS and its affiliates, with its warped and twisted ideology, represents a total betrayal of the true spirit of Islam, and is in denial of the actual teachings of its noble Prophet.  "Beware", he warned his followers 1400 years ago, "Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, or curtails their rights, or burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will, I (Muhammad) will complain against that person on the Day of Judgement".

At our special meeting held on Thursday this week (26th June 2015), The Council for Christian Muslim Relations (CCMR) unanimously agreed to find ways of declaring to the whole community that what ISIS, Al Qaida, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and their fellow travellers do, is "NOT IN OUR NAME".

Chaudry Shafique, MBE, Chairman
The Revd Hugh Ellis, Vice Chairman


‘Paris Massacre – Not in Our Name’

The Council for Christian Muslim Relations in High Wycombe (CCMR) joins with countless other Muslims in the UK and around the world who have denounced the attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in a Jewish area of Paris. Like the Imam of the mosque in Paris, Dalil Boukabeur,

“We are horrified by the brutality and the savagery” perpetrated by terrorists who claim to do so in the name of Islam, a religion of over 1.5 billion people spread across the globe.

The great volume of condemnatory messages posted on social media by ordinary Muslims make it very clear that the mainstream followers of Islam everywhere have no association whatsoever with the warped version of their faith used by a few deranged people as inspiration by their evil actions. 

A tweet from Almis Aman posted on 8th January 2015 sums up the feelings of the vast majority of mainstream Muslims:
“As a Muslim I am offended by those images created by Charlie Hebdo, but I am a million times more offended by the killings of innocent lives”

One of the key aims of terrorists is to divide us as multi-faith communities in order to radicalise more vulnerable young people and recruit them to their terrorist organisations. Our best and most effective response against their evil designs is to remain totally united and rooted firmly in the belief that violence has no place in religion, ethnicity or morality; in fact if it reflects anything, it reflects a betrayal of our basic humanity.  It is worth remembering that our Abrahamic faith communities have managed to co-exist peacefully over many centuries.

In a speech in 1993, Prince Charles reminded his audience that  “medieval Islam was a religion of remarkable tolerance for its time, allowing Jews and Christians the right to practise their inherited beliefs. Islam is a part of our past and our present ……and has helped to create modern Europe”.  For true Muslims, this would be the real spirit and legacy of Islam that the Prophet sought to urge upon his followers.

“Beware”, he warned over 1400 year ago, “whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority or curtails their rights or burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will, I (Muhammad) will complain against that person on the Day of Judgment”.

For those who may be inclined to believe that there is anything intrinsically violent about Islam it is always worth remembering that terror groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda have been calling on Muslims to engage in terrorism in Western cities for over ten years now but of the 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, the number who have responded to these calls is a minute percentage a number of whom were recent converts.

The Bishop of Birmingham, The Rt Revd Urquhart, helpfully reminded us in a debate in the grand committee of the House of Lords (2013)

“Of course if I read my own scriptures as I do every day and select various pieces of them, I could easily form myself in to some kind of sect which would be disapproved of by most of civil society. Rather than seek division or selective use of scripture and theology, I emphasise healing of divisions and communication between those different religions and societies”.
With this spirit we will be able to seek out the positive forces in all our religions which are the much more dominant part of the messages given by our prophets. 

As an example from The Prophet’s sayings, consider the following Hadith “Shall I not inform you of a better act than fasting, alms and prayers?” And he says that that act is “Making peace between one another; enmity and malice tear up heavenly rewards by the roots”.

Our Christian brothers and sisters will be familiar with this message as well, as it echoes Matthew 5 v 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God”.

We should, of course, never be complacent and we know very well that a lot more needs to be done; and we in the CCMR will continue to promote and practice brotherly love as a foundation for pursuing all that makes for peace and builds up our common life. 

We in the CCMR are, in the words of Nelson Frazer (Editor of Spectator) writing in the Daily Telegraph on 9th January 2015, rather proud to be citizens of “a country of Mo Farah, where the national dish is Chicken Tikka Masala. Opinion polls show that Muslims are more patriotic than the general public. A handful of extremists cannot obscure the fact that overall Muslim integration has been a great British success story”.

TOGETHER WE STAND UNITED, RESISTING THOSE WHO SEEK TO DIVIDE US

Cllr Chaudhry Shafique MBE
Chairman of The Council for Christian Muslim Relations in High Wycombe
  
The Revd Hugh Ellis
Team Rector of High Wycombe, and vicar of All Saints.
Vice-Chairman of The Council for Christian Muslim Relations in High Wycombe

Dated 12th January 2015


Joint worship in Mosque and Church in High Wycombe.

This Group including the local Bishop, at local High Wycombe Mosque

                     

Following the suicide bombing of worshippers at All Saints, Peshawar, in Pakistan, Muslim members of the CCMR (Council for Christian Muslim Relations) called an emergency meeting and the CCMR issued a strongly worded statement condemning the outrage. Christian and Muslim members then decided to join together for prayers for those people bereaved and injured in that atrocity (and to remember similar attacks on Shia Muslims and others in Pakistan) at the midday Prayers at the Totteridge Road Mosque on Friday 20th December at 12.15 and at the Parish Eucharist at All Saints, High Wycombe on Sunday 22nd at 09.45.

The sermon at the Mosque and at All Saints was the same: one part given by Imam Sultan Mahmoud and the other part by the Revd. Hugh Ellis. There were other features that the two acts of worship had in common including prayers for the congregation of All Saints, Peshawar and for other victims of sectarian violence in Pakistan. About a dozen Muslims worshipped at All Saints and about a dozen Christians worshipped at the Mosque.

The Chairman of the CCMR, Chaudry Shafique, said that he considered this a significant step forward in community relations and that Christians and Muslims had demonstrated that what united them was much stronger that what separated them. The Vice-Chairman, The Revd Hugh Ellis, said that he rejoiced that Christians and Muslims in High Wycombe had come to such a point of mutual respect and fraternal love that they could worship together in both mosque and church in complete respect for the traditions of each other.

Signed                                                 Signed
Chaudry Shafique                             The Revd Hugh Ellis
Chairman                                            Vice Chairman
Tel:07976 946083                             Tel:07748 966042 

Dated: 22nd December 2013


Official Statement on the Peshawar Attacks

We, the undersigned, officers of the Council for Christian Muslim Relations, (High Wycombe, UK) condemn, and proclaim our abhorrence of, the suicide bombing, on the Church of All Saints in Peshawar, on September 22nd 2013, in which at least 78 of the worshippers died and more than 140 were injured. We send our condolences to the bereaved and our prayers for the recovery of the injured. An attack like this on a place of worship is against the commandments of God and is an outrage condemned by both Islamic and Christian teaching. We call on the Pakistan Government to bring the supporters of the atrocity to justice and to put in place robust measures to protect the whole community including the religious and ethnic minorities of Pakistan.

We, Muslim members of this Council, who are mostly of Pakistani heritage, feel particularly outraged by this attack, as we know do the vast majority of Muslims in Pakistan and the UK. We have been empowered to contribute to the creation of a unified community here in High Wycombe and in the UK and have been given a special welcome by Christians, among whom we include the clergy and people of All Saints Church, High Wycombe.

Signed

Cllr Chaudry Shafique, MBE, Chairman
The Revd Hugh Ellis, Vice-Chairman
Imam Sultan Mahmood, Treasurer
Laurence Smy, Chairman of Sub-Committee

Date 23rd September 2013