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Saturday, 3 November, 2001, 14:59 GMT
Archbishop 'backs' Afghan campaign
Archbishop Carey
The archbishop is visiting Anglican churches in the Gulf
The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he believes the use of military force in Afghanistan is necessary to counter "a fanatical enemy".

In a BBC interview in Bahrain during his visit to the Gulf, Doctor George Carey said he saw no alternative to military action, although the violence used should be proportionate to the task.

I don't think they had any alternative but to attack

Dr George Carey

He said the coalition of countries seeking Osama bin Laden was up against what he described as an evil enemy, intent on a path of destruction.

But Dr Carey stressed the conflict was not with Islam, and said Muslims and Christians must find a way to live in harmony together or face a bleak future.

'No alternative'

He said: "We're against an enemy who has no moral limits on what he will do to achieve his goals.

"Now when you ally that 'no moral limits' to a fanatical belief in God, then you have a very dangerous concoction. I don't think they had any alternative but to attack."

On his first visit to a Muslim country since the start of military action in Afghanistan, Dr Carey is seeking to improve dialogue between Christians and Muslims.
Archbishop Carey and Reverend Clive Handford
The Anglican bishop for Cyprus was also in Bahrain

Giving a speech at the Beit al-Qur'an Islamic centre in Bahrain on Saturday, Dr Carey highlighted the common ground between what he describes as two great world religions.

He said: "Alongside our shared humanity, spiritual quest and capacity for friendship I would also place our common longings for peace, acceptance and love."

Dr Carey said it was wrong to equate Islam with some of the policies seen recently in Afghanistan, including the repression of women, but that faith all too often "gets mixed up with other ideological and political influences".

"For the sake of peace and harmony we have a moral duty to walk together and to keep walking especially when the road becomes uneven and rough," he added.

He admitted that some Christians were concerned by concepts such as "Jihad" and young Muslims who kill others and themselves with the promise of paradise.

But Dr Carey also said there were undoubtedly Christian zealots who troubled Muslims.

'Joining together'

Tension between the two faiths has risen following the massacre of 16 Christians in a church in the town of Bahawalpur in Pakistan last Sunday.

Dr Carey has described the massacre as a scar on relations between Christianity and Islam, appealing to Christians not to retaliate.

On Saturday he spoke of how one of the people killed in the massacre at Bahawalpur was a Muslim guard who lost his life trying to protect people whose faith he did not share.
Church massacre
Dr Carey condemned the church massacre

He said: "The newspapers in Britain this week were full of reports of how Muslims and Christians were in sorrow, side by side, mourning this great tragedy.

"How great it will be when, one day, Christians and Muslims will join together in laughter and celebration - and indeed pride - at the distance we have been able to travel together."

Dr Carey's visit was arranged before the terrorist attacks on America.

The 65-year-old archbishop served with the British armed forces in Iraq in the 1950s, and has said he still feels "sentimental links" with the region.

After his stay in Bahrain, Dr Carey will visit Qatar before returning to London.

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The BBC's Robert Pigott
"The first ever visit by an Archbishop of Canterbury"

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See also:

30 Oct 01 | South Asia
Pakistan massacre suspects arrested
24 May 01 | Middle East
Timeline: Bahrain
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