27th October 2023
The Forum for Leaders in The Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities in Norway (STL) consists of the foremost leaders from faith- and life stance communities in Norway. Two weeks ago, we condemned the attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas. At the same time, we expressed concern about the loss of Palestinian lives that would likely follow. Since then, thousands of lives have been lost, most of them civilians. We condemn the killing of civilians and express our deep concern for the situation in Gaza, on the West Bank and in Israel.
The Forum for Leaders expresses our deep compassion with all who suffer in this war. We appeal to all, to respect our shared humanity as we face this man-made catastrophe. We ask that all that can be done, is done, to prevent the loss of more civilian lives.
The war also affects us in Norway. It awakens strong emotions and polarizes our society. We are concerned that this will lead to more hatred towards Jews and Muslims. Indeed, we already see the signs of this happing.
Our religions are represented on both sides of the war. It affects us greatly, but it does not ruin the good cooperation and dialogue between faith- and life-stance communities in Norway. Similarly, the war should not ruin the relationships between people, organisations and other institutions in Norway.
We all have a responsibility to react when people spread disinformation or hateful speech. Strong emotions can lead otherwise level-headed people to speak in ways they would normally never do, and in ways that can cause harm. As religious and life-stance leaders we have a particular responsibility to face and address this in our own communities.
In the time ahead, we will in our different faith- and life-stance communities mark our solidarity with the victims of war and wish for peace.
We will do this in different ways. Some through prayer, others through fasting, but we all want the same thing. We want an end to the killings. We want peace.