It was with a huge sense of gratitude that Evangelical Alliance Wales received this letter of friendship from Dr Abdul-Azim Ahmed, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Wales, following the attacks on churches in Nice and Lyon last week. Working with colleagues from other faith groups as part of the Welsh Government’s Faith Communities Forum, the Interfaith Council of Wales and various national curriculum advisory groups, has not only been a privilege but a true highlight in what has been a difficult year for us all. We are deeply grateful for this expression of compassion and sympathy.

Dear Sian Rees,

I am reaching out in response to the attack in Nice on Thursday last week in which three people were killed in a church. It hurts me, and indeed many of the Muslims I have spoken to in recent days, that the killer shared our faith. As I am writing this, news has broken of another attack in a church in France, this time in Lyon, and while details are still emerging, I am overwhelmed by the same feelings of grief and pain. 

It is difficult to fathom what drives a person to violence, and even more difficult to understand how such violence can be carried out in a place of worship and glorification of God. 


I reflect on a verse of the Quran in which the sanctity and inviolability of all places of worship is underlined: If God did not repel some people by means of others, many monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, where God’s name is much invoked, would have been destroyed. God is sure to help those who help His cause – God is strong and mighty.” Quran 22:40

Recent years have been tumultuous, both close to home in the UK and globally. It has been a sad fact that accompanying political instability, climate change and now global pandemic, attacks on places of worship have been increasing. 

As communities of faith, united by our devotion to God and our desire to pursue His will on earth, I feel a kinship with Christians in navigating these troubling times. I have only recently assumed my position as secretary general of the Muslim Council of Wales, and I hope to continue the example of my predecessor Saleem Kidwai in strengthening the ties and relationships between Christians and Muslims. 

This does not feel like a luxury, but a necessity; one necessary to ensure that whatever challenges and chaos the future brings, Christians and Muslims can be agents of God’s mercy and love in this world. 

With deepest sympathies,

Dr Abdul-Azim Ahmed

Secretary general of the Muslim Council of Wales