Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has condemned the terrorist attack in Vienna, and pleaded in the response to the tragedy that “hate must not be the answer to hate”.

– A call to “solidarity, community and respect”

On Monday evening the Archbishop of Vienna wrote on Twitter that “in these dramatic hours, I pray, with many others following the tragic events in the heart of our city through the media, for the victims, the emergency services and that there will be no further bloodshed”.

“Hate must not be the answer to this blind hate”, Schönborn followed up in another tweet Tuesday morning. “Let us continue along the path of solidarity, community and respect. These are the values that have shaped Austria”.

“Austria must not become a society that closes itself off in fear, but [we] must continue to be open to each other: even if we have to keep our distance now because of the pandemic – with our hearts we do not have to keep our distance”, the cardinal wrote.

“The fact that shots were again fired directly in front of the municipal temple of the Jewish religious community reminds me of the bloody attack on the synagogue in 1981. Whatever the context of… the attack, it must be clear that blind violence cannot be justified by anything,” the prelate also said in a message published on the website of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference.

– At least three dead and 15 injured in shooting spree in downtown Vienna

Schönborn was reacting to a series of shooting attacks that rocked downtown Vienna on Monday evening, killing at least three people and injuring at least 15. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has vowed “decisive action against the perpetrators of this hideous terrorist attack”.

“We will never allow ourselves to be intimidated by terrorism and will fight these attacks resolutely by all means”, Kurz said.

“The whole country is thinking about the victims, the injured and their families, to whom I express my deepest condolences”, he continued. “We thank the leaders of the European Union and our international partners for their sympathy and the expressions of solidarity”.

In a pair of tweets on Monday – one in French, the other in German – French President Emmanuel Macron said: “We French share the shock and grief of the Austrian people struck this evening by an attack in the heart of their capital, Vienna. After France, a friendly country is attacked”.

“This is our Europe. Our enemies must know who they are dealing with. We will not give up anything”, Macron wrote.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement on Tuesday that “we, Germans, stand by our Austrian friends in sympathy and solidarity”.

“Islamist terrorism is our common enemy. The fight against these murderers and their instigators is our common fight”, Merkel added.

The Vienna shooting is one of several terror attacks in Europe during recent weeks, as France saw several acts of terror, including an attack at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice and the killing of a teacher, Samuel Paty.

(With reporting by Sputnik and RT)

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.