LONDON - 23rd May 2013 - As the Dialogue Society we utterly condemn the abhorrent attack against off-duty soldier Drummer Lee Rigby. Like everyone else, we were deeply shocked at the barbarity of the attack. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim, his family and friends and the Woolwich community.
Such acts cannot be justified under any circumstances or on any pretext whatsoever. They not only run counter to the teachings of Islam but are diametrically opposed to the fundamental character and ethos of this religion. Those who commit such acts cannot do so as Muslims. Those who harm others in the name of religion in fact grievously dishonour it. If such acts divide us, they must divide us along these lines: us against those who resort to violent extremism and terrorism.
We would like to send a message to all those who have resorted and continue to resort to violence to further their goals, that they have failed to divide us. History proves over and over again that in the end the human spirit will not yield to fear and intimidation.
As an organisation founded by second generation British Muslims we believe that Islam necessitates love, compassion, empathy, human rights, respect for diversity, dialogue, freedom and loyalty to the lex loci: values and practices which render terrorism unthinkable. We will continue to work to instil this truth through our work, outreach and publications, be it directly or through example.
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Notes to editors
1. The Dialogue Society is a registered charity, established in London in 1999, with the aim of advancing social cohesion by connecting communities through dialogue. It does this by bringing people together through discussion forums, courses, capacity building publications and outreach. It operates nation-wide with regional branches across the UK. It was founded by British Muslims of Turkish background inspired by the teachings and example of Fethullah Gülen. The Dialogue Society is not a religious or ethnic organisation. It aims to facilitate dialogue on a whole range of social issues, regardless of any particular faith or religion. It stands for democracy, human rights, the non-instrumentalisation of religion in politics, equality and freedom of speech. For more information see www.dialoguesociety.org.
2. The Dialogue Society's recent publications include an exploration of the Islamic basis for dialogue and intercultural harmony and respect: Dialogue in Islam. This book and our other publications (including a policy paper, Deradicalisation by Default) are available at http://www.dialoguesociety.org/publications.html.