Monday, 31 August 2009



Scotland’s faith communities have united behind the Scottish Justice Secretary’s decision to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds.

Writing to all MSPs ahead of a parliamentary debate on Wednesday the Joint Faiths Advisory Board on Criminal Justice state;

“We write in support of the decision to release Mr Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds. The JFABCJ believes that this decision was both right and just.

“Terrorism brings death and destruction but perhaps more than that it seeks to degrade the ordinary life of the world; striving to dehumanise us all by encouraging intolerance, fear, xenophobia and the desire for vengeance and retribution. You have, by your action, shown to all of those who would subvert the ordinary daily life of the world that we will not allow them to dehumanise us because we will continue to show mercy. Mercy which is valuable to all even when it is hard to be merciful and it may appear that the consequences of that mercy are not in our immediate interest.”

The letter continues;

It would be impossible not to be aware of the feelings of those who lost loved ones as a result of what happened in the skies above Lockerbie and we would never fail to recognise their pain, anger and loss but we believe that to show mercy can only lead us all further down the path to understanding, peace and the restoration of wholeness to the hearts of individuals and the world. At the Scottish Government debate on Wednesday morning we encourage you to call for a free vote on this matter of conscience.”

Welcoming the letter SNP MSP Michael Matheson said;

“More and more people are recognising that the decision made by Kenny MacAskill was the right decision for the right reasons.

“Scotland’s faiths have always maintained an interest in our criminal justice system and their support for this decision is welcome.

“This endorsement comes only a day after it was revealed that Nelson Mandela supports the Justice Secretary's decision and adds to the recognition from churches and civil society across Scotland as well as politicians of all parties.

“Such decisions will always be difficult but by sticking to the values and principles of Scotland’s justice system the Scottish Government has acted properly at all times and that action is being received positively by countries around the world.

“When opposition parties approach the debate on Wednesday they must recognise the difficulty of the decision that had to be made and consider the wealth of opinion, at home and abroad supporting the steps taken by Kenny MacAskill.

“As several senior politicians have made clear this was not and should not be an issue for party politics. The decision reflected the principles of the Scottish Justice system and it would be wrong for opposition within Holyrood seek to politicise what was a judicial decision.”

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