Archbishop Rowan Williams noted how difficult it must have been for Muslims to watch the recent violence in the U.K. during Ramadan. Illustration: aispl/Shutterstock
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, praised U.K. Muslim Tariq Jahan, whose 21-year-old son, Haroon, was killed during the summer riots in Birmingham but who nevertheless urged Muslims not to seek revenge for Haroon’s death.
"His call for peace and unity was one of the decisive moments during those days and was a gift in Ramadan that gave hope to many, not just in Birmingham but all over the United Kingdom and beyond,” said Archbishop Williams. “He was able to give voice to the conscience of Britain in a way that people of all faiths and none could recognize."
The acknowledgment came in the archbishop’s annual greeting to British Muslim communities on the occasion of ‘Id al-Fitr (“festival of the breaking of the fast”), which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and is commonly known as Eid.
In his Aug. 30 message, Archbishop Williams noted how difficult it must have been during the Islamic sacred month of reflection, prayer and fasting to watch the growing violence in major U.K. cities. He recalled how the prophet Jeremiah urged God’s people to pray for the peace and well-being of the city in which they lived. “Those words are a reminder to us that our own peace and security are bound up with the peace and security of our neighbours and that God is concerned for the peace of all.”
In May, the archbishop hosted a four-day conference in Doha, Qatar, that brought together 30 Christian and Muslim scholars. The 10th annual “Building Bridges” seminar focused on Christian and Muslim perspectives on prayer. “We learned with and from each other about what it means to act in a world of often frightening conflict on the basis of an attitude of prayer and confidence in God’s will for peace and justice.” said Archbishop Williams.