UK
26/09/2013 11:04 BST | Updated 01/10/2013 13:05 BST

Archbishop Of Canterbury Says Pray For Kenya Terror Victims, And Their Captors

The Archbishop of Canterbury has revealed he prayed for both the victims and the terrorists that committed the brutal attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, killing 67 people.

Archbishop Justin Welby said forgiveness was part of the teaching of Jesus Christ, and praying for the captors ensured they "won't have the last word".

He told BBC Radio 4's World At One: "As Christians one of the things is that we pray for justice and particularly the issues around the anger that comes when this kind of thing happens, but we are also called as Jesus did on the Cross to pray for those who are doing us harm.

the archbishop of canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury has revealed he prayed for both the victims and the terrorists

Earlier this week, the Archbishop blogged that he had been praying for the hostage-takers: "I am praying today for all those who remain hostage in a shopping mall in Nairobi, as well as for their families and friends waiting anxiously for news.

"I'm praying too for their captors, that they would see and understand that hostility and violence will never be allowed to have the last word."

kenya westgate terrorist attacks mourning

Mary Italo grieves for her son Thomas Abayo Italo, 33, who was killed in the Westgate Mall attack, as she waits to receive his body at the mortuary in Nairobi, Kenya

"We can show – where we have links to the situation – that we care. No-one can support all victims of injustice; but where we are aware, we ought to show it matters.

"So make this a week of prayer for hostages, remembering especially those from Camp Ashraf and those in Syria – and the people of Nairobi.

We cannot pretend to understand all the complexities of the situation. But we know that such acts of hostage-taking, kidnapping or extra-judicial killing are always wrong."

In an email exchange with the Associated Press, the al Qaeda-affiliated terror group Al Shabaab has confirmed its fighters specifically targeted foreigners during the attack.

"The Mujahideen carried out a meticulous vetting process at the mall and have taken every possible precaution to separate the Muslims from the Kuffar (disbelievers) before carrying out their attack," the group said.

It added: "Our targets have always been disbelievers, invaders and the apostate governments officials/troops who are allied with them."