Political and religious leaders have made impassioned pleas on Easter Sunday for hope to conquer fear in the wake of the Brussels terror attacks.
David Cameron said the UK should be “proud” of being a “Christian country” – and he warned the “pernicious ideology” driving Islamic terrorism must be defeated.
The Prime Minister said defending and protecting the country’s values and way of life was the best way of standing up to such attacks, as they speak to Britons “of every faith and none”.
He went on: “When terrorists try to destroy our way of life as they have tried to do again so despicably in Brussels this week – we must stand together and show that we will never be cowed by terror.
“So this Easter as we pray for the friends and families of all those who lost loved ones in Brussels, let us also draw hope and inspiration from the values we share and from all those who – inspired by those values – seek to help others in our country and around the world.”
During an Easter Vigil service in Vatican City on Saturday night, Pope Francis said fear and darkness must not “distract us and control our hearts” – as pessimism could “imprison” the world.
He said a “celebration of our hope” was “so necessary” in the wake of the terror attacks.
On Good Friday, the Pontiff had condemned “the terrorist acts committed by the followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy name to justify their unprecedented violence”.
Later today, the 79-year-old will deliver his Urbi et Orbi blessing and message from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica, amid tightened security in Rome.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury is to use his Easter Sunday sermon to warn Britons not to succumb to fear in the wake of the Brussels atrocity, which he will describe as a sign of a “world at war with itself, of faith at each other’s throats”.
The Most Rev Justin Welby will describe Easter as a chance to trust in God.
He is expected to say: “Fear is reasonable, a normal human reaction. This week has shocked all of us, and risks causing us to act fearfully, to see a world in which fear triumphs.
“Easter proclaims to us in flesh and blood that fear and death and terror are not the last words. God has spoken life, hope and purpose.”