[The Scottish Episcopal Church] Churches across Scotland were today urged to strengthen their ties with Muslim communities in their towns and cities following the start of hostilities against Iraq. The seven bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church will, this afternoon, write to more than 500 of their own ministers and church leaders calling on them to "extend to our Muslim brothers and sisters our commitment to friendship and mutual respect." The move follows a series of meetings between the country's religious leaders over the past year. Religious leaders from all traditions have worked hard to build better relations to ease tensions that arose in some communities following the September 11 attacks.
The Most Revd Bruce Cameron, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, said, "At the heart of both our faiths is a desire for peace. Let that be the sign between us in the coming days."
The Primus, who is also bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney, added, "As military action in Iraq begins, my immediate prayers and thoughts are with those who will be caught up in the horrific human consequences of this war - both the people of Iraq and our forces and their families.
"It is a war which, in my view, should not have happened. But I pray it will come to a swift end and that our leaders in Britain and the US will commit as much time and resources to the building of the peace afterwards.
"The search for peace must continue otherwise war becomes an end in itself and that can never be right.
"The ultimate goal is not the determination of Saddam Hussein's future or the destruction of the weapons that Iraq may or may not have. It is securing sustainable peace and justice for the people of the Middle East."