'We are with you' - the Archbishop of Canterbury's message to Muslims after New Zealand mosque attack
The Archbishop of Canterbury has vowed to stand with Muslims following the horrific mosque shooting in New Zealand last week.
At an interfaith gathering at Regent's Park Mosque in London on Monday, Archbishop Justin Welby called the attack "monstrous" as he promised that he and Church of England bishops would be looking at ways to be "more effective in visible signs of togetherness" with Muslims.
This would include, he said, renewing the teaching of its 'Near Neighbours' scheme across Church of England schools, which provide education to a million children.
He also denounced anti-Muslim rhetoric and said an attack on Muslims was an attack on all people.
"Those who attack Muslims in this country or elsewhere attack every human being. You are not 'the other', you are us. Those who act out of hate for Muslims act out of hate for all here. Those who acted or supported the actions in New Zealand attack all of us," he said.
"For British Muslims who are feeling under threat, we are with you. Hatred of Muslims denies and blasphemes Christ. Those who co-opt Christian language and history for hatred commit blasphemy."
He went on to call the attack in Christchurch a "wake-up call to renew civilised discourse in public life and on social media" as he committed to "listening more and putting this higher up the agenda in my own actions and words".
He said "faith and obedience to God are part of the solution to the challenges of extremism", as well as working together with faith communities.
"It's shown by the fact that people from so many faiths are standing together here in solidarity. The attacker wanted to create a war against Islam; he generated human unity," he said.
The Archbishop concluded by drawing on the teaching of Jesus to his followers to be peacemakers as he urged all people to listen to others and be moved "in love" to see beyond cultural, ethnic, religious and political differences.
"Hate crimes against those who are different have no place before God," he said.
"We stand together for you are us, and we are you, together in the hands of the creator and judge of every person. May God protect and strengthen you."