Memorial Service
of 11 September attack

 

Speech delivered at the American Embassy in Cairo
by Bishop Mouneer Anis, Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Egypt

 

We come today to remember those five thousand innocent civilians who were killed in the tragic attack of September 11th. Not only to remember but also to share with the people of the United States of America over this difficult time when your peace and security have been shaken as a result of the repeated and different kinds of terrorist attacks.

We come to pray for and support the families who lost their loved ones during this great tragedy, especially as they miss them more over this Christmas season.

I was impressed during my visit to America last month when I saw many banners with the words, "In God we Trust, together we stand"

It was encouraging to see many people going to churches to pray. These are the positive effects from the September 11th disaster.

The other positive thing is that America, Egypt and many other countries announced the war against terrorism. Here I want to stress two important points:

Firstly, we should not only fight terrorism in all its forms but we must destroy all its causes. We all know that the best climate for terrorism to grow and flourish is political and social injustice, ignorance and poverty. As Martin Luther King said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere". This is why all of us in the Middle East welcome the new policy of the USA for this region. This policy stresses the importance of allowing the presence of a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel. The efforts for peace should continue under all circumstances and in spite of all the trials to stop these efforts. It is said that, "returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars."

As an Egyptian, I urge our American friends to consider the peace in the Middle East as a strategic necessity for the war against terrorism.

Secondly, it is really sad to see many in the West relating terrorism to Islam in spite of the assurances given by President Bush that there is no relationship between the two. I am an Egyptian Christian and live in the Islamic country of Egypt in peace and security. My Christian forefathers lived here alongside their Moslem brothers and sisters for 14 Centuries in complete peace. Individual incidents should not change this fact.

Ladies and Gentlemen, terrorism has no religion or home. As the Bible says, "Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love". 1 John 4:8 and "Whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness, He does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded him." 1 John 2:11

May the God of all comfort fill your hearts and minds with the peace that passes all understanding.

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