In the wake of the London Bridge terror attack, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said Islam needs to “take responsibility” for atrocities carried out in its name and reminded his country that the love of Jesus “is more powerful than the evil of terror or the profound wickedness of the terrorist.”
Speaking to BBC, Welby admitted that throughout history, people have “twisted and misused” religious text to justify hate and violence – but it’s foolish to believe Islam has “nothing to do” with the ongoing terrorist attacks.
“We have got to say that if something happens within our own faith tradition we need to take responsibility for countering that,” he said, adding that politicians should not just say “this is nothing to do with Islam” and focus on the security of political aspects of it.
“I don’t think it is getting us anywhere, just like saying Srebrenica had nothing to do with Christianity”, he said, referring to the 1995 massacre of over 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys by a Bosnian Serb army during the Bosnian Civil War following the break up of Yugoslavia.
At least seven people were killed and nearly 50 people were injured when a van carrying three terrorists rammed into pedestrians on London Bridge before they jumped out and went on a rampage, stabbing people at random on the street.
The names of the victims have not been released officially, but it is known that one of those who died was from Canada. People from France, New Zealand and Australia are among the wounded.
Speaking at Folkestone in Kent, Welby said, “The terrorists want to divide us. They want to make us hate one another. They want to change our way of life. But just like we saw in Manchester, Londoners are responding with generosity and open hearts… with courage and resilience.”
And he added, “The strongest power in the world is the love of Jesus Christ. It is more powerful than the evil of terror or the profound wickedness of the terrorist.”
The London Bridge attack was the third terrorist attack in England in three months. ISIS later took responsibility for the attack in a statement published on its “news agency” Amaq.
An article, titled “Blessed Battle of Manchester: A new lesson for tyrants, Crusader States,” said Britain thought it “was safe from the wounds of the Mujahideen… Protected by the sea they have long relied on isolating themselves” and that “their exit from the European Union would save them.” The article continued, “A soldier from the Islamic State” in Manchester “has unleashed terror throughout their country, they rushed to spread the army in the cities, mobilizing police and security in the streets for fear of a new attack,” which “is inevitable, God willing.”
Last month, British intelligence officers said the U.K. is home to 23,000 jihadist extremists who are potential attackers.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said following the London attack that there is “far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.”
“It is time to say enough is enough,” she said. “Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change.”