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Statement on Westminster Terrorist Attack

Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, on the terrorist attack in Westminster

23 March 2017

We have once again seen the worst and best of humanity in yesterday’s Westminster attack. One person was intent on harming and ending life, while countless hundreds of others tirelessly did their utmost to maintain and protect the lives of those they may not even have known. Our prayers are first and foremost with those who have lost loved ones, those who are injured and those who will carry the trauma of what they have experienced.

Having been within the Palace of Westminster when this attack happened, I witnessed the tireless efforts of hundreds of individuals whose primary goal was to look after and secure all those under their care: members of both Houses who reassured their guests and colleagues, the staff and security of the Houses of Parliament who looked after the ill and elderly, Metropolitan Police and emergency service officers who were among us updating and guiding us through the process, school teachers looking after their children who were visiting Parliament, sitting them down and singing songs to reassure them, the Chaplain to the Speaker who stood from beginning to end mingling with, and reassuring all those who were there, and countless others, each doing what he or she could to assist in any way.

What I found particularly moving was that, in the face of this act of terror, everyone involved demonstrated an instinctive and immense courage and resilience.

This and similar acts are meant to dishearten and defeat us; they are meant to take away our resolve and aim to lead us into a spiral of revenge. Despite evocative attempts to corrupt our hearts to hatred, we on the contrary have seen acts of unwavering selflessness, sacrifice and compassion.

Our thoughts and prayers are especially with the family of PC Keith Palmer of the Metropolitan Police, and all his colleagues who continue to work for the protection of others despite their personal loss. We also stand together in prayer for all those affected by this horrific attack, for those entrusted with the leadership, security and safeguarding of our communities, and for the safety of everyone in London and beyond.

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