Category : Violence

(NYT) “The terrorists waited on the road like game hunters”–Samuel Tadros-Coptic Christians: ISIS’ ‘Favorite Prey’

“At this rate Copts will be extinct in 100 years. They will die, leave, convert or get killed,” a friend wrote on Facebook as news broke of the latest bloody attack on Egypt’s Coptic Christians. Less than two months ago, while attending church in Cairo on Palm Sunday, my friend told me she’d mused to herself that it was a blessing her daughter wasn’t with her: If there was a bombing, at least her child would survive. Forty-five Copts were murdered that day by the Islamic State in churches in Alexandria and Tanta. Such are the thoughts of Coptic parents in Egypt these days.

The terrorists chose today’s target well. The Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, which I visited a decade ago, is very hard to reach. One hundred and ten miles on the Cairo Luxor desert road, you make a right-hand turn and for the next 17 miles drive on an unpaved road. The single lane forces cars to drive slowly, and, as the only route leading to the monastery, the victims were guaranteed to be Copts. Friday is a day off in Egypt, and church groups regularly take trips there. Outside of a few policemen stationed out front, there is little security presence.

The terrorists waited on the road like game hunters. Coming their way were three buses, one with Sunday school children. Only three of them survived. Their victims were asked to recite the Islamic declaration of faith before being shot.

Read it all.

Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

BBC’s Beyond Belief–How Islamic is the So-Called Islamic State?

In claiming responsibility for the Paris atrocities, the so-called Islamic State described the attacks as “a blessed battle whose causes of success were enabled by Allah”. Last year, when the group’s self-imposed Caliphate was declared, hundreds of Muslim leaders and scholars from across the world wrote an open letter to the self-professed Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, accusing him of heinous war crimes and a violation of the fundamental principles of Islam. So how Islamic is ‘Islamic State’? Why have mainstream interpretations of Islam so far failed to provide an effective counter-narrative? What needs to happen for the group to be defeated?

William Crawley discusses the beliefs which underpin the so-called Islamic State in the light of the Paris terrorist attacks with Sheikh Dr Salah Al Ansari, an Imam, theologian and academic; Haras Rafiq, Managing Director of the anti-extremism think tank, the Quilliam Foundation; and Dr Katherine Brown, an expert in Islamic Studies at King’s College London.

Listen to it all.

Posted in Islam, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Fulcrum) Colin Chapman–Christian Responses to Islamism and Violence in the name of Islam

Max Warren, General Secretary of the Church Mission Society from 1942 to 1963, used to tell a story from his time in hospital after returning from service in Nigeria with a serious illness. One day he was examined by a medical student as part of his final examinations in front of his professor. After the examination the student gave his diagnosis of Warren’s illness to the professor. Warren knew that the diagnosis was wrong. So when he saw the professor the following day, he said to him, ‘I suppose that student failed because he got the diagnosis wrong’. ‘Oh no!’ replied the professor. ‘The diagnosis was wrong. But he would have got there in the end because he asked all the right questions’.

While we have been living with Islamism for some years, the creation of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ in June 2014 no doubt took all of us by surprise. And if there’s been a variety of responses among national governments, academics and journalists, there’s also been a variety of responses among Christians. So if none of us can claim to give a definitive answer to the question of how Christians should respond to Islamism and ISIS, can we at least attempt to ask some of the right questions? These would be the ten questions that I would want to ask.

(1) What do we Mean by ‘Islamism’ and How does it Differ from Other Kinds of Islam?

I hope we are past the stage of speaking about ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ and are starting to use terms like ‘Islamism’, ‘political Islam’ or ‘radical Islam’. I am not talking about ordinary Muslims who may have a political agenda of one kind or another, but Muslims who have a clear agenda about creating some kind of Islamic polity. It is important to recognise, however, that Islamists are not all the same. Some believe in democracy, pluralism and human rights, while others do not. Some believe that violence is sometimes justified in pursuing an Islamic agenda, while others reject the use of violence. They all want to see Islamic principles applied in the public sphere; but they recognise the huge differences in the political make-up of states all over the world and have different ideas about how a particular state could be more Islamic….

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(Church Times) We will repair damage done to our city and its people, Bishop tells Manchester

The killing of 22 people in a suicide bombing in Manchester on Monday had provoked “proper anger and rage” that must be directed into a “force for good”, the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, said this week.

In the worst terrorist attack in the UK since the London bombings of July 2005, a lone attacker, Salman Ramadan Abedi, detonated an im­­provised explosive device at Man­chester Arena at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert. Among those killed were children, and parents waiting to collect their children. In addition to the deaths, 59 people were injured. Many are being treated for life-threatening conditions.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister announced that the threat level in the UK had been raised to “critical”, indicating that a further attack might be “imminent”. For the first time since 2003, troops were being de­­ployed to join the police’s armed patrols. “It is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack,” Theresa May said. On Wednesday afternoon, the Manchester police chief, Ian Hopkins, said: “I think it’s very clear that this is a network that we are investigating.” Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(BBC) Egypt Coptic Christians killed in bus attack

At least 23 people have been killed and 25 wounded after gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in central Egypt, state media report.

The incident occurred in Minya province, 250km (155 miles) south of Cairo, as the bus headed to a church.

Read it all.

Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(WSJ) Remembering the Manchester Victims

Some were teenagers—and younger children—excited to see a favorite pop star. Some were parents coming to pick up concertgoers. The Monday attack outside Manchester Arena claimed 22 lives, some of whose stories are below. Some ages are as reported in local media accounts.

Read it all.

Posted in Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(BBC) Manchester attack: Vigil finds city defiant in the face of terror

The silence held for a full five minutes before the Lord Mayor Eddy Newman began to speak.
His was a message of thanks for the emergency services and defiance in the face in the terrorism, words that were met with cheers and loud applause.
He was followed by others with equally unbending speeches.
The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker, spoke of the city’s unerring belief in diversity and unity and said those who would seek to destroy such things were “the very few, but we are the many, we are Manchester”.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

PM Theresa May’s Statement this Morning on the Manchester Attack in Full

At terrible moments like these, it is customary for leaders, politicians and others to condemn the perpetrators and declare that the terrorists will not win. But the fact that we have been here before, and the fact that we need to say this again, does not make it any less true. For as so often while we experience the worst of humanity last night, we also saw the best. The cowardice of the attacker met the bravery of the emergency services and the people of Manchester. The attempt to divide us met countless acts of kindness that brought people closer together. And in the days ahead, those must be the things we remember. The images we hold in our minds should not be those of senseless slaughter, but of the ordinary men and women who put concerns about their own safety to one side and rushed to help, of the men and women of the emergency services, who worked tirelessly to bring comfort, to help and to save lives, of the messages of solidarity and hope of all those who opened their homes to the victims, for they are the images that embody the spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain. A spirit that through years of conflict and terrorism has never been broken and will never be broken.

There will be difficult days ahead. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of those affected. We offer our full support to the authorities, the emergency and the security services as they go about their work. And we all, every single one of us, stand with the people of Manchester at this terrible time. And today let us remember those who died, and let us celebrate those who helped, safe in the knowledge that the terrorists will never win and our values, our country and our way of life, will always prevail.

Please take the time to read or watch it all.

Posted in Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A (well-crafted) Prayer for Manchester from Sam Wells

Posted in England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

A Statement from the Manchester Police about the Latest–22 Dead, 59 injured

You may find the BBC live feed there.

Posted in England / UK, Music, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Pray for Manchester UK Tonight–as of this time, 19 confirmed dead and 50 injured in ‘terror’ incident at Manchester Arena, police say

Read it all and you can follow the #manchester hashtag on tiwtter as well as multiple liveblogs from the best english newspaper+news sites.

Posted in Children, England / UK, Music, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

The Bishop of Derby, Dr Alastair Redfern on modern slavery (Human Trafficking)

The Bishop of Derby, the Rt Rev Alastair Redfern, has been at the forefront of efforts to raise awareness of modern day slavery. We joined him at a conference hosted by the Clewer Initiative – a three year project that aims to assist dioceses with detecting human trafficking – and spoke to him about the unique pastoral work dioceses are carrying out to support victims of modern slavery.

Listen to it all (about 6 1/2 minutes).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Sexuality, Violence, Women

The Archbishop of Canterbury concludes a visit to the Holy Land

The Archbishop of Canterbury has completed a 10-day official visit to the Holy Land.

Archbishop Justin Welby and Mrs Caroline Welby travelled to the Holy Land at the invitation of the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, Archbishop Suheil Dawani.

The Archbishop made the long visit, from 2–11 May, to spend time with Anglicans in Jordan, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel – to encourage them, to pray with them, and to learn from them.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecumenical Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Syria, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle, Violence

(BBC) Archbishop of Canterbury to meet Palestinian and Israeli leaders

The Archbishop of Canterbury is to meet Palestinian and Israeli political leaders as part of a 12-day tour of the Holy Land.
His visit comes two weeks before US President Donald Trump is due to arrive in Jerusalem to try to revive the moribund peace process.
However, the Most Reverend Justin Welby indicated there should not be too much significance read into the timing.
“I come to pray, to share, to listen, to encourage,” he told the BBC.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Middle East, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Violence

(Telegraph) Lord George Carey–Christians face extinction in the Middle East – the next Government must prevent it

I recently saw images of the hauntingly empty Iraqi town of Qaraqosh, near Mosul, which was taken by ISIS in 2014. It had a population of 50,000 mostly Assyrian Christians, but is now totally abandoned.

The militants have used every means to erase the town of its Christian identity defiling and destroying its beautiful church buildings.

In August 2014, the militants swept through towns around Mosul and forced thousands to flee. Qaraqosh’s Christians abandoned their homes and have still not returned, even though the town has now been liberated from IS.

Read it all.

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