Dublin, Hilliard

Local Christian, Muslim leaders decry acts of hate and violence

To the editor:

We the members of the Safe Alliance for Interfaith Leaders (SAIL) -- faithful Muslim and Christian leaders in the Hilliard and Dublin communities who are experiencing together the goodness of mutual respect, friendship and cooperation -- decry the violence against the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of four embassy personnel, and the violence against the United States embassy in Cairo, Egypt.

Those who attacked these sites claimed their actions were a justifiable response to a film made by an American filmmaker that denigrated Islam's Prophet Muhammad. It grieves us that some who claim the name of Muhammad and others who claim the name of Jesus feel the need to discredit our faith traditions of love and respect by attacking others, both through words and images intended to hurt and inflame and through acts of violence.

As religious leaders finding friendship and cooperation despite our religious differences, we denounce Sam Bacile's film for its attacks on Islam. We denounce Pastor Terry Jones' continued acts of disrespect of Islam intended to inflame. We denounce acts of violence in response. And we have sad hearts and deep concern at the prospect of another round of retaliatory violence and the many innocent people who keep being caught up in "the war on terror."

In the name of the God who made us all, we call upon members of all communities of faith and of none to pray and work toward demonstrations of mutual respect, friendship and cooperation with those of other faiths as a discouragement to provocative acts of disrespect and hate and as an encouragement that such acts by a few need not threaten life and the community among people this world so desperately needs.

The Rev. Stephen Smith
Imran Malik
The Rev. Dave Ziegel
Muhammad Shakeel
SAIL officers