A time to speak…

First published 15th July 2016
There is no doubt that the events in Nice that have emerged overnight have sickened and horrified the people of this Diocese and the people of this nation.

Our prayers and our thoughts are with the injured and the bereaved as well as those whose specific calling it is to care for those caught up in these tragic events.

So far, no group has admitted responsibility for the attack. But it is worth noting that it did follow a call by so-called Islamic State (IS) for IS followers to do exactly what this truck driver did.

It becomes clearer to me that the IS terrorists have displayed a co-ordinated campaign to attack those whom they regard as alkuffar (infidels) at will. It is true they claim their Islamic faith is the driver of this, but I think we need to be clear that such attacks are very un-Islamic.

A number of things emerge in response to all this:

We must not allow such horrific attacks to stop us living our lives as normal.

I think we need a more co-ordinated (though not a panic) international response to IS than it feels we have at the present time.

The Moslem community in general must not be blamed or abused. IS exhibit un-Islamic behaviour. We must acknowledge this and those in our local communities who want to take it out on our local Moslem communities should show restraint.

Wisdom in our approach to this crisis is important. We must pray, not only for those who have suffered from the spate of horrific IS attacks, but also for those, set in authority over us as they work out the difficult task of how our efforts to stem the tide of IS terrorist attacks might better be served.

The New Testament reminds us that Jesus asks us to pray for our enemies. The behaviour of terrorists makes this really difficult. My natural response is something entirely different! However, I will pray that God will turn the hearts of those who put their twisted ideas over and above the sanctity of human life. People of peace will make this world a better place NOT the purveyors of indiscriminate violence.


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