Category : Terrorism

(NYT) Indonesia Family, With Children in Tow, Carries Out Suicide Bombings at 3 Churches

One suicide bomber appeared to have been disguised as a churchgoer. Another drove a Toyota minivan to one attack site. Still another was seen in footage speeding on a scooter before exploding.

When the smoke cleared from the back-to-back bombings, which targeted three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, as worshipers gathered between services on Sunday morning, the police said it had been the work of one family: a couple who had led their four children in a rampage that took their own lives and killed at least seven other people.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to the group’s news agency Amaq. In an initial bulletin, the group described each of the back-to-back bombings as a “martyrdom” operation. In a subsequent, longer media release, the group identified three modes of attack, including a car bomb, a suicide vest and a motorcycle-borne bomb.

Read it all.

Posted in Indonesia, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(BBC) How Nigeria’s cattle war is fuelling religious tension

A long-running conflict between cattle herders and farmers in central Nigeria is increasingly assuming a religious dimension, writes the BBC’s Mayeni Jones after visiting Benue state.

Sebastian Nyamgba is a tall, wiry farmer with sharp cheekbones and piercing eyes.

He guides me to a small bungalow adjacent to the local church, St Ignatus. It was the home of local priest Father Joseph Gor.

“This is his blood,” he says, as he points to faint pink splatters on the wall of the porch of the house.

“This is where he was killed. They shot him as he was getting on this motorbike to escape and his blood sprayed on the wall.”

Father Gor was killed in the compound of his Catholic church, in the small village of Mbalom, about an hour’s drive south from the capital of Benue state, Makurdi.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Punch) Anglican bishops protest Fulani Herdsmen killings in Ondo

Hundreds of Anglican priests on Friday took to the streets of Akure, the Ondo State capital, to protest against the various killings going on in some parts of the country unabated.

The priests, all in black cassocks and carrying placards, held a peaceful procession to show their displeasure with the incessant killings of innocent Nigerians and the recent killing of Catholic priests in Benue State.

Some of the placards had inscriptions such as: ‘Thou shall not kill’, ‘Love your neighbour and your enemy’, ‘Every soul matters’.

Speaking on behalf of the priests, Venerable Justus Omoyajowo, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take the security and well-being of Nigerians seriously.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Nigeria, Terrorism

(BBC) Manchester Arena attack: Silence to mark first anniversary

A minute’s silence will mark the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena attack, the government has announced.

Twenty-two people were killed and hundreds injured when Salman Abedi detonated a home-made bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May.

All government buildings will observe the minute’s silence at 14:30 BST on 22 May. Other organisations may follow suit, the government said.

A service at Manchester Cathedral and a communal sing-along are also planned.

The Manchester Together – With One Voice event will take place on the same day and bring together choirs from the city and beyond.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, History, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CNN) Nigeria church attack leaves 19 dead, including two priests

At least 19 people were killed Tuesday after gunmen opened fire at a church in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, police said.

Two priests and 17 worshippers were killed when armed men, believed to be cattle herders, stormed a Catholic church during early morning Mass on Tuesday in a remote village in Benue state.
State police spokesman Terver Akase told CNN the attackers, thought to be Fulani herdsmen, set many homes on fire.
“The herdsmen burnt nearly 50 houses during the attack and sacked the entire community, ” Akase told CNN. “We expect arrests to be made because they (attackers) are becoming more brazen,” he added.

Read it all.

Posted in Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Nigeria, Terrorism

(NBC) Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor Pens Children’s Book Featuring Her Life Changing Dog

Posted in Animals, Books, Children, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(BBC) Service held to ‘cleanse’ Salisbury after nerve agent attack

A special service has been held in Salisbury to “symbolically reclaim the city for the common good” following the nerve agent attack on 4 March.

The Bishop of Salisbury hosted the service of “cleansing and celebration” at St Thomas’ Church, near where Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found.

The service, which was open to all faiths and none, involved prayers to cleanse the site and the city.

It was followed by a procession to the bench where the Skripals were found.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Russia, Terrorism

(NYT) The ISIS Files–We unearthed thousands of internal documents that help explain how the Islamic State stayed in power so long

The commander who strode in sat facing the room, his leg splayed out so that everyone could see the pistol holstered to his thigh. For a moment, the only sounds were the hurried prayers of the civil servants mumbling under their breath.

Their fears proved unfounded. Though he spoke in a menacing tone, the commander had a surprisingly tame request: Resume your jobs immediately, he told them. A sign-in sheet would be placed at the entrance to each department. Those who failed to show up would be punished.

Meetings like this one occurred throughout the territory controlled by the Islamic State in 2014. Soon municipal employees were back fixing potholes, painting crosswalks, repairing power lines and overseeing payroll.

“We had no choice but to go back to work,” said Mr. Hamoud. “We did the same job as before. Except we were now serving a terrorist group.”

The disheveled fighters who burst out of the desert more than three years ago founded a state that was acknowledged by no one except themselves. And yet for nearly three years, the Islamic State controlled a stretch of land that at one point was the size of Britain, with a population estimated at 12 million people. At its peak, it included a 100-mile coastline in Libya, a section of Nigeria’s lawless forests and a city in the Philippines, as well as colonies in at least 13 other countries. By far the largest city under their rule was Mosul.

Read it all.

Posted in City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Middle East, Terrorism

A Story for Good Friday 2018–The Symbolism of French Officer Arnaud Beltrame’s Sacrifice (Terry Mattingly)

Father Jean-Baptiste insisted on adding other details, noting that Beltrame was raised in a nonreligious family, but experienced a “genuine conversion” at age 33. He entered the church in 2010, after two years of study. Beltrame was, the monk said, “intelligent, sporty, loud and lively,” a man who shared his faith with others.

On this side of the Atlantic, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia underlined the symbolism of this story. In a column entitled “A Lesson For Holy Week,” he said Beltrame was a civil servant doing his job and a “man in love getting ready for a wedding.” He was also a “man who deliberately shaped and disciplined his own life until it became a habit, a reflex, to place the well-being of others before his own.”

The archbishop concluded: “God’s ways are not human ways. They are other than ours; higher and better, more powerful, moving, and redemptive than our own. It isn’t logical, it isn’t ‘normal,’ for anyone to place his or her life in harm’s way for a friend, much less for a complete stranger as Arnaud Beltrame did. Only a special kind of love can make a person do something so unreasonably beautiful.”

Read it all (cited by yours truly in last night’s sermon).

Posted in Christology, France, Holy Week, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism

(AP) Churches that survived 9/11 give in, install metal detectors

The two stone churches near the foot of Broadway, in the shadow of the World Trade Center, have seen fire and calamity and the sweep of American history, and through it all have kept their doors wide open.

But in a sign of the times, Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel both installed metal detectors this month. Visitors on their way to see Alexander Hamilton’s tomb in Trinity’s historic graveyard, or who want to sit in the pews at St. Paul’s where George Washington prayed and dust-covered rescue workers rested after 9/11 attacks, now have to pass through airport-style security checkpoints.

The metal detectors, installed March 1, will be there “until this world becomes a safer place,” said Trinity’s vicar, the Rev. Phillip Jackson.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Express) Christianity on the brink: Religion DECIMATED from its Middle eastern birthplace – ‘We NEED help’

Christianity, a leading Catholic charity has warned, could be reduced to a “token religion” in the country unless worshippers receive urgent aid.

Islamic extremists have driven tens of thousands of Christians from their homes, with Islamic State (ISIS) destroying towns and churches.

As the sick death cult retreats further and further in Iraq and Syria, some Christians are returning home to find devastation and destruction, with urgent funds needed to rebuild communities.

However despite this, foreign governments are giving “no help” to Christian communities, leading to tens of thousands of believers to abandon their homelands.

One priest said believers could leave Iraq for good unless desperately needed aid was given to help rebuild nine Christian towns.

Read it all.

Posted in Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Vanguard) Nowhere to live and worship because of Boko Haram —Anglican Bishop Emmanuel Morris

Borno State is obviously challenged by insecurity. How do you assess the situation?

I came into the state last year at a time when there was a relative peace, and the peace has continued to improve.

Which areas do you think the state government needs to improve in order to impact positively on the lives of the people, especially the vulnerable groups?

Let everybody work for peace; let us understand that something has gone wrong; we need to stop shifting blames. Let us identify where the problem lies and solve it. And to the insurgents, we must appeal to them to lay down their arms because killing and destruction of properties is not the ideal thing; they must join us in the path of peace. They are our brothers and sisters. I also appeal to people who might have been hurt in the course of this insurgency to forgive, let us put behind what has happened and let us forge ahead. Without forgiveness, we can never progress. When we talk about peace, we are not talking about religion. In Islam they say ‘Asallamalaikum’. In Christianity we say ‘Peace be unto you’. What does that suggest to us? And in Judaism they say ‘Shalom’ which is peace; so peace is a concept of life and not something which is limited to religion. Even as a Muslim, if you say ‘Assalamalaikum’, it is not only to your fellow Muslims; it is to anybody you see around you that such person should have peace, meaning you are praying for that person to have peace and you want him to exist. So in these religions, peace is very important, and, honesty, I must tell you that I was really impressed when I came to Borno and I saw Muslims and Christians going to the same polling stations, recreation centres, markets; we use the same highways, weeat food in the same restaurants, we use the same hotels, banks, we do almost everything together. And so, how can you wake up and tell me that Borno is not peaceful?

This state was a peaceful state until 2009 or thereabouts when the issue of Boko Haram came up; so let us identify that something has gone wrong and let us address the problem irrespective of religion, ethnic or political inclination. When you go into history, the first three places of worship that were burnt were churches. And the last three places that were burnt were mosques. This insurgency crisis affected both Muslims and Christians. It is something that has come to disorganize us, and we should understand that and try to resolve it collectively.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of Nigeria, Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

(ACNS) Nigerian bishops speak out against increasing attacks by Fulani herdsmen

The House of Bishops of the Church of Nigeria has criticised the country’s government for failing to act against Fulani herdsmen who have carried out a series of fatal attacks. The anti-persecution charity International Christian Concern says that 80 people in Benue state have been killed in attacks by Fulani militants this year. At the heart of the conflict is the challenge to the herdsmen’s nomadic way of life caused by expansion of established farms and villages. According to the Global Observatory, farmer-herder violence in the country has killed thousands of people and displaced tens of thousands more since the current state of Nigeria was founded in 1999.

In a communiqué issued after a meeting of the House of Bishops, the Church of Nigeria expressed sympathy with the families of those killed and injured in attacks by Fulani herdsmen, and went on to say that: “The bishops observed that as a result of the continuous inaction of the Government, people are beginning to suspect that there is complicity of the Federal Government in these despicable acts. We therefore call on the Federal Government, as a matter of urgency to address these ugly trends and ensure that the culprits are brought to justice.”

They continued: “However, the bishops strongly believe that the permanent solution to the killings by herdsmen lies in the establishment of ranches in line with world best practices and not grazing colonies. Besides, the young herdsmen deserve a better opportunity for education and advancement in life. The bishops believe that it is unkind to design a life of perpetual wandering for these class of youth.”

Read it all and follow all the links as well.

Posted in Church of Nigeria, Terrorism

The Archbishop of York’s 2017 Christmas Message in the Yorkshire Post–‘Christmas should re-awaken the rebel in us. It’s an invitation to start again’

Every Christmas is a renewal of God’s invitation to turn away from pessimism and despair and embrace the Christian virtue of hope. God has not given up on us. The inner conviction that things could be better can be revived and nurtured. It has tremendous potential for good. Or, alas, for evil.

Among the European volunteers for Daesh (ISIS), were hundreds from the UK, all of them young. Obsessed by an ideal, they were and are willing to sacrifice everything to make it happen. Youthful enthusiasm was also the driving force in 1930’s Germany, when millions of disaffected young people were enticed by the promise that National Socialism would deliver a proud, pure, reinvigorated nation. Newsreel pictures of those days recorded hordes of adulatory teenagers screaming their support for Hitler’s cavalcades. The recently republished book, “Darkness Over Germany” by E. Amy Buller, recounts how that sophisticated nation succumbed to a malevolent force masquerading as righteous. The book’s message is “spiritual bankruptcy finds expression in political upheaval”[1]. It is sub-titled “A Warning from History”.

I don’t think many British people today realise that by casually distancing themselves from their Christian heritage, they have become ripe for a political or religious takeover. Neil McGregor, the former director of the National Gallery and British Museum, has just completed the marathon series of broadcasts on Radio 4, “Living with the gods”. He comments on the state of the UK today, “In a sense, we are a very unusual society. We are trying to do something that no society has really done. We are trying to live without an agreed narrative of our communal place in the cosmos and in time.”

Gordon Brown, in his reflections on his time in office as Chancellor and then Prime Minister, writes “… some argue that we should banish religious arguments from the public square altogether… without such a national conversation it is difficult… to find a solid basis for national unity”.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Christmas, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology

(Independent) Suicide bombers storm a Pakastani Methodist church and detonate explosives as congregation worships

Two suicide bombers stormed a Christian church in south-western Pakistan, killing at least eight people and wounding up to 42 others before being stopped by police guards.

The gunmen, who were wearing vests filled with explosives, attacked the church in Quetta city when Sunday services had just opened.

Sarfaraz Bugti, home minister for Baluchistan province, said hundreds of worshippers were attending the church ahead of Christmas. He said one attacker was killed at the entrance to the church, while the other set off his payload inside.

Read it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Terrorism