The Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (SCCRR) today expressed sorrow and solidarity with the affected families and people of Kenya over the horrifying massacre at Garissa University College. The militants targeted victims on the basis of nationality and religion, repeating a heinous pattern of violence that is contrary to the law of God and mankind, keeping people apart and threatening stability.
“This is murder on a scale that horrifies the whole world,” said SCCRR’s executive chairman, Fr. Patrick Devine, SMA, “Targeting young vulnerable innocent students embarking heroically on their journey of life and educational fulfillment is particularly horrific.”
Fr. Devine continued by advocating that “all of us have to give particular attention to dangers associated with religionization of politics and the politicization of religion. Systematic education, particularly in respect to freedom and tolerance in the framework of human rights and responsibility, is so important to a safer interconnected world. Education is critical in this process in order to counter radicalization whose extremism goes beyond the repulsion of killing to engage in mass murder.”
Concerning institutional religion, Fr. Devine emphasized: “the extreme dangers which arise when the Divine message of all religions, centered on peace and reconciliation, is not authentically proclaimed and defended by those – particularly religious leaders of different beliefs – who are more concerned by the insular power realism of their religion’s institution leading to the abuse and betrayal of its sacred message. Respect for religious plurality is a critical legitimate path to peace.”
“SCCRR stands with the Kenyan people – regardless of whether they have Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Traditional beliefs – the Kenyan government, and all of civil society in condemning this attack, and we are redoubling our efforts to address the root causes of conflict and promote enduring peace. We will work with the Kenyan government and our partners to pursue a better future for all the peoples of the region.”
The attack on the university in the northeast Kenyan city of Garissa by extremists took at least 148 lives. The U.N. Security Council expressed outrage — a word it rarely uses — in condemning the attack.