Tag: terrorism

So marveled Egyptian TV host Amr Adeeb, in the aftermath of the Palm Sunday bombings of Christians by ISIS. The forgiveness expressed by a widow of one of the victims had taken his breath away:

Stunned, Adeeb stammered about Copts bearing atrocities over hundreds of years, but couldn’t escape the central scandal.
“How great is this forgiveness you have!” his voice cracked. “If it were my father, I could never say this. But this is their faith and religious conviction.”
Millions marveled with him across the airwaves of Egypt.

It has often been said of the ancient church that the blood of martyrs was the seed of the Church. The witness of the Coptic community, which has seen numerous attacks in the past few years, has made an impact, both on the Coptic church itself, and on the wider community.

Christianity Today quoted Christian psychiatrist and former member of parliament Ehab el-Kharrat as saying, “The Coptic community is definitely in defiance. The services of Holy Week have doubled in attendance, and the churches are flowing out into the streets.”

With regard to their muslim neighbors:
“The families of the martyrs are promoting a worldview that is 180 degrees contrary to that of the terrorists,” he said. “The great majority of Egyptians now carry deep respect for the Copts, who are viewed as patriotic people of faith.”

Two churches in Egypt were attacked today during Palm Sunday services, killing scores of worshippers. Our prayers go out to our persecuted brethren.

In Tanta, news footage shows people gathered at the church, singing hymns. The video then quickly switches to bars as harrowing screams and cries echo in the background.
“Everything is destroyed inside the church” and blood can be seen on marble pillars, said Peter Kamel, who saw the aftermath of the carnage.

You can read more at CNN.

Nearly 100,000 people gave their lives as a witness to the faith. The majority of the deaths (60,000) were due to tribal violence in Africa. Most of the rest can be attributed to the activities of Islamic terror groups like ISIS.

A new study has found that Christians are the most persecuted people on earth today. A research conducted by The Center for the Study of Global Christianity shows that every six minutes a Christian loses their life because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

Read more at World Religion News: “A Christian Was Killed for Their Faith Every Six Minutes”.

Thankfully, Ahmad Rahami, the man behind the New Jersey and New York bombings last week, was inept. No one was killed by the bombings. Thieves stole one of his suitcases, dropping the bomb that was inside and leaving it behind on the sidewalk as they fled with the stolen item. The suspect himself was arrested after being discovered sleeping in the doorway of a bar. In his running firefight with cops, he failed to kill anyone. In the end he was shot in the leg and subdued, rather than being ushered into the afterlife as a martyr. This terrorist wannabe was a loser on just about every measure that ISIS or other jihadist groups might use to evaluate him.

Don’t get me wrong; I am grateful! I will hope and pray that the real God–the God of peace–may become known to Mr. Rahami as he pays his debt to society behind bars.

You can read more of the strange tale of his last hours of freedom at The Telegraph (and elsewhere): “The Strange Story of an Unsuccessful terrorist: How New York bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami was caught”.


Ground Zero Cross

Few events have shocked us more than the coordinated attacks that occurred on Sept 11, 2001. Terrorists commandeered four airplanes and slammed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and into the Pentagon building in Washington, DC; a fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. In the aftermath of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, some found solace in a cross made of steel I-beams, an accidental symbol of God’s presence and comfort, that was uncovered in the rubble.

On Sept 13, two days after the towers collapsed, a recovery worker discovered the cross:

He had just helped pull three bodies from the rubble when he saw it there in dawn’s first light, standing in a sea of debris. A heavenly symbol in a hellish setting. A cross.

Exhausted and traumatized by his labors, the man dropped to his knees in tears. “It was a sign,” Frank Silecchia would recall, “a sign that God hadn’t deserted us.” (USA Today)

The “9-11 cross” became a symbol of hope and encouragement for many. Some made pilgrimages to pray before it, and left messages there. Makeshift worship services were held there.

One minister at the site says that when a family of a man who died in the attacks came to the cross shrine and left personal effects there, “It was as if the cross took in the grief and loss. I never felt Jesus more.”
(Cited by Wikipedia; the original article is no longer available).

After a few weeks in its original location, the cross was hoisted up onto a pedestal. A Roman Catholic Priest, Brian Jordan, blessed the makeshift monument and proclaimed, “This is our symbol of hope, our symbol of faith, our symbol of healing.” Jordan had lost a friend on 9-11, and had been struggling to cope with questions of why God had allowed this to happen. Like the worker who discovered it, the cross struck him also as being a message from God.

Today that cross, having survived a challenge from the American Atheists, is on display in the 9-11 Museum. For those of the Christian persuasion, it is part of an answer to the question, “where was God?” He was (and is) right there, with us, in the midst of suffering and death.