Cardinal Alencherry calls for special prayers in churches on July 31 in the wake of challenges against Christian faith

Thursday, Jul 28, 2016,11:57 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Kochi | Spiritual head of Syro-Malabar church Cardinal George Alencherry has expressed concern over incidents in India wherein people following Christianity were weaned away from it to join the extremist ideologies. It should be seen seriously that hectic activities are on to wean away people who follow Christian faith, radicalise them and inspire them to join anti-national activities, he said ina astatement issued here Wednesday.

His statement assumes significance in view of reports of alleged forcible conversion to Islam at the behest of terror outfit Islamic State. Some Keralite Christian youths, including a girl Merin Jacob from Kochi, had converted to Islam before they went missing in Middle East. The Cardinal also urged the government to step up efforts to ensure the release of a Keralite priest, Tom Uzhunnalil, from the captivity of extremists in Yemen. Condemning the terrorist attacks targeting Christians in many parts of the world, Alencherry directed that special prayers be held in all Syro-Malabar churches on July 31 in the wake of challenges posed against world peace and Christian faith.

The Cardinal also condemned the murder of a priest in a church in northern France by Islamic State.

The brutal killing of Fr Jacques Hamel as he held a church service has sent shock waves throughout the world, he said here. Two attackers Tuesday slit the throat of the 86-year-old priest celebrating Mass in a church in France, killing him and gravely injuring one of the worshippers present, before being shot dead by police. Alencherry said the incident occurred as France was already reeling under the killing of 84 people in Nice this month and a string of other deadly attacks which claimed several lives.