“Once more, extremism distorts the sense of religion and uses God to motivate a terrible crime,” Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias said. Expressing disgust over the Jan. 7 attack against the offices of French weekly Charlie Hebdo, the Archbishop of Bombay said it “has no justification. The prelate, who is president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, said that he was “deeply saddened by the terrible murderous attack in Paris, which threw the families of the victims and the whole of France in a state of despair and mourning. The Church in India feels the pain of the French people and expresses solidarity to the families who are now mourning their dead.”
Alluding to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Cardinal Gracias said, “we were the target of violent and dangerous religious fundamentalism, which used God to justify violence.” “Religious intolerance is contempt for human beings and life, but also for the Lord. It threatens to destabilize society, communities and even nations. The attack that took place in Paris is criminal and has in no way a justification”. Despite this, he noted, ”we must always be sensitive to religious feelings, and remain on guard against the danger of prejudice based on membership in a community of faithful. As religious leaders, it is our responsibility to proclaim and make livelier the Gospel of peace, the path for dialogue”.