Countering terror by spreading calm and hope
The beautiful cities of Barcelona and Cambrils on the eastern coast of Spain hold a very special place in my heart. Hundreds of my friends and close family members live there and I have fond memories of the many months I spent in the region growing up.
On August 17 in Brussels, where I head the Church of Scientology European Office of Public Affairs and Human Rights, I watched in horror the news of a van plowing into Las Ramblas Street, killing 13 and injuring 100. And the nightmare began all over again that night with the news of Cambrils.
Despite these attacks on my country, I hold strong to my belief that in our ever complex and pluralistic world, terror can only be defeated by education, unity, morality, and justice, including social justice and human rights—and law enforcement when these civilizing factors have not kept pace with the encroaching chaos. But even then, it is vital that we carry forward with education, unity, morality and justice, and the application of the fundamental principles of human rights.
When these atrocities took place, my office condemned the attacks and urged unity among all religions, a message echoed by the Director of Religious Affairs of the Catalan regional government as well as by the City Hall of Barcelona, in an official letter calling for all faiths in the region to work in their communities to restore peace and hope.
In Barcelona, Scientology Volunteer Ministers organized a blood drive and went out into the streets reaching out to more than 3,000 people, helping them come to terms with what had just happened and rekindling their hope for the future.
The Volunteer Minister movement was launched by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard in the mid 1970s. He described the Volunteer Minister as “a person who helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by restoring purpose, truth and spiritual values to the lives of others.”
Our Volunteer Ministers served in Madrid after the March 2004 train bombings, in London after the June 7, 2005, suicide bombings, at Ground Zero New York after the September 11 terror attacks, and in Japan, Haiti, Louisiana, Nepal, the Philippines, and the sites of hundreds of other natural and manmade disasters, helping people recover from the stress and trauma of these incidents.
Our Churches have always been and will continue to be open to all. I invite anyone affected directly or indirectly by these terrible events to call or stop in for help. Compassion and unity will triumph over hate and fear, and these are the qualities we all need to create a better world.