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Statement: The Peshawar Massacre

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Following a terrorist attack on a Pakistani military school that left 145 people dead, the Chief Rabbi laments the sadistic and senseless killing that has destroyed families and lives. He also decries the apologists who have tried to justify the slaughter. 

“In common with the entire Jewish community, I was appalled and disgusted at the cruel murder by members of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan of 145 people on 16 December 2014 at the Army Public School in Peshawar. 132 of the Taliban’s victims were schoolchildren between eight and eighteen; some 130 people were injured; children were shot in the head; teachers were burned alive in the presence of their pupils; nearly a thousand further potential victims had to be rescued from the ruthless onslaught. In addition to the bereaved, all the survivors and their families will have been profoundly traumatised, as is Pakistan as a whole. Each detail compounds our sympathy for the victims and our condemnation of the vile attackers.

Words fail us to express the depth of our revulsion at such a despicable act of terrorism. As we try to make sense of a world in which such outrages occur, we encounter the additional obscenity of the explanations and justifications put forward by and on behalf of the terrorists. I echo and endorse Prime Minister David Cameron’s response – no responsible religious or political figure could possibly excuse or mitigate this repugnant crime. Anyone who seeks to provide political or religious cover to the perpetrators of terrorism (or to those who sent them) shares in their eternal shame.

We offer our condolences to the grieving families and feel sympathy for the heartbroken people of Pakistan as they struggle to cope with the scale of their loss and with the unfathomable iniquity of the enemy they face. All decent people join together to repudiate terrorist violence, and to support the benign efforts of parents and educators: our heroes are those who pursue peace, not those who destroy it.”