Father Tom: Prayer, forgiveness and community will defeat terror

Father Tom, the Indian priest captured by Islamists in Yemen and falsely rumoured to be crucified, has called for peace and forgiveness in response to terror.

Speaking as he collected one of the Mother Teresa Awards in Mumbai on Sunday night, Father Tom Uzhunnalil said terrorists create community and the alternative is a community based on love, according to NDTV.

Anto Akkara/World Watch MonitorFather Tom Uzhunnalil sheds a tear at his homecoming in India after being captured by militants in Yemen.

'Avoid situations that will instigate people to revolt in life. Terrorists are created by community, if the communities can be forgiving there will be peace,' he said.

Freedom 'is doing the right thing at the right time and the right place', he said.

'Freedom to love and forgive and prayer will lead us to true peace. Not war, not bullets, not rockets or guns, but the prayer is our greatest weapon. The Father of our Nation (Mahatma Gandhi) got us freedom not through bullets, but through satyagraha [non-violent resistance] and prayers.'

Father Tom, originally from Kerala, was captured in March 2016 while working with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity at a nursing home in the port city of Aden. False rumours were then circulated across several media outlets that he had been crucified by ISIS. However these were corrected and Father Tom was released in September this year.

Speaking of his captivity at the awards he said: 'If we surrender ourselves to God's will, he will give us grace, understanding and calmness of mind to remain peaceful from within and rest will be taken care of. I never had any dreadful dreams, nightmares, fear, trembling, sweating or anything like that.'