Terrorism

Image via Stefano Rellandini/REUTERS/RNS

Pope Francis has telephoned leaders of the terror-stricken French city of Nice, asking them what he could do to help in the wake of last week’s gruesome truck attack and promising to meet with the families of the victims as soon as possible.

The pontiff made his call out of the blue on July 17, reaching the former mayor of Nice and leader of the region, Christian Estrosi, through the head of a national association of Italians who live in France.

Image via REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/RNS

A vortex of hatred is sweeping across the globe, from a nightclub in Orlando to an airport in Istanbul to a restaurant in Dhaka.

At its center are individuals who wrap their savagery in the cloak of Islam. But these terrorists — perhaps 50,000 to 100,000 of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims — are a perversion of the faith. They do not represent the Islam beloved by moderates like me.

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Let’s prosecute these police officers fair but hard because the shooting of innocent Black men and women is done in our names. Until there are consequences this will only continue.

Jim Wallis 7-07-2016

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If a terrorist claiming he was inspired by his Christian faith killed worshipers at a church in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, would anyone suggest that he was a true Christian or represented the beliefs of other Christians worldwide? Of course not. Such a man would be denounced by Christians everywhere, along with whatever twisted organization he represented.

Image via REUTERS/Gary Cameron/RNS

In a message marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, President Obama lamented the spate of vicious terror attacks around the world in recent weeks and warned against anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S.

“No one should ever feel afraid or unsafe in their place of worship,” Obama said in a message for the feast of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan’s monthlong observance of daytime fasting and abstinence.

Image via Ted Eytan/Flickr

While fewer than half of Americans — less than 40 percent — endorse the idea of banning Muslims and Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. and erecting a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Republicans and Democrats have strikingly different opinions. 

the Web Editors 6-20-2016

Image via Eric B. Walker / flickr.com

The Senate is set to begin voting on four gun control bills this evening, due largely to Sen. Chris Murphy’s (D-Conn.) filibuster begun June 15 and carried into the early morning the next day.

After one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history, Murphy said he’d had enough.

the Web Editors 6-15-2016

Screenshot via C-Span.org

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) is occupying the floor of the U.S. Senate until the chamber agrees to pass gun violence legislation, reports The Hill.

So far, Murphy has yielded the floor a few times — without losing the right to keep speaking afterwards — to both Republican and Democratic senators so that they can ask questions or make comments.

Memorial for Orlando victims outside the landmark Stonewall Inn in New York City.

Memorial for Orlando victims outside the landmark Stonewall Inn in New York City.  Christopher Penler / Shutterstock.com

But while we cry, we must also gain our composure and not allow hate or cynicism to have the first, the loudest, or the last word.

We cannot use hate as the path through our pain into our tomorrow. Hate fuels hate: racial hate, homophobic hate, religious hate, class hate, and the rhetoric of hate that drives the terrorist and the mob. The culture of hate creates the actions of hate. It is and always has been a recipe for murder.

Akhtar Ali 6-13-2016

Image via REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/RNS

The killings of two Hindus, one Christian, and the wife of an anti-terror official in Muslim-majority Bangladesh last week have left members of minority religious communities afraid for their lives and skeptical of the government’s ability to provide security.

Separate targeted attacks on Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, and atheists have left the country reeling. On top of the violence, some churches have received death threats from Islamist militants.

the Web Editors 6-13-2016
Albert H. Teich / Shutterstock

Even considering his infamous call to shut down Muslim immigration after the San Bernardino shooting, and the time he called Mexican immigrants rapists, Trump may have just delivered the most xenophobic speech of his campaign.

Asma Uddin 6-13-2016

Image via REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/RNS

On June 3, the United States celebrated the passing of Muhammad Ali, an American Muslim who stood for America’s highest ideals. On June 12, it condemned a savage gunman as an Islamist radical before his motivations had been confirmed.

Omar Mateen opened fire in a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando shortly after 2 a.m. June 12. With 50 people dead and 53 wounded, it is the largest shooting rampage in modern America.

the Web Editors 6-12-2016

President Barack Obama called the deadly shooting at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub early Sunday morning "an act of terror and an act of hate" in remarks Sunday afternoon. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer told reporters that 50 were killed and 53 injured in the shooting at Pulse Orlando, a gay club near the city's downtown.

Laleh Bakhtiar 5-24-2016

Palestinian Salafists protesting Charlie Hebdo in Gaza City. Image via REUTERS/Suhaib Salem/RNS

American journalists routinely report on Islamist extremists such as the group that calls itself the Islamic State, or ISIS, without mentioning one of the key doctrines that inspires them.

Whether translated loosely as “us vs. them” or more precisely as “allegiance-disassociation,” “wala wal-bara” is a foundational doctrine of Salafism, the Sunni purist movement that has become a major force in Middle Eastern politics.

Image via REUTERS/Tony Gentile/RNS

What do the tango, Islam and conscientious objection have in common? They are just three of the references that Pope Francis made in his latest blockbuster interview.

Speaking to the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, Francis reflected on issues affecting the church and society as a whole.

Jim Wallis 4-28-2016
William Perugini / Shutterstock

William Perugini / Shutterstock

WHAT ISIS AND other terror groups who share their views want is precisely to terrorize us. They want to turn our fear of them into fear of everyone who looks like them, and everyone who follows the religion they are trying to hijack. They want us to suspect, fear, and hate the 1.6 billion people of the world who practice Islam—including millions of Muslim Americans. They want to provoke us to anger, and they hope that in our anger and pain we will overreact.

Right now, unfortunately, they are succeeding with too many of our fellow Christians, and even with some of the candidates for our highest political offices.

When ISIS terrorists succeed in provoking Islamophobic responses, they come closer to their goal of dividing the world into two categories—Muslims and non-Muslims—which also brings them closer to their goal of claiming the mantle of being the only “true defenders” of Islam. Islamophobia thus directly helps the terrorists recruit more young Muslims to their cause and makes it harder for other Muslims to work against them.

Here are some ways that we can deny the terrorists their victory:

FIRST, WE MUST focus on life and the terrible human suffering that these attacks are causing all over the world. When you add up all of those killed, maimed, wounded, and traumatized—and all their family members, friends, fellow congregants, and co-workers—the number of human beings impacted by terrorist violence is almost countless. We must also include the impact on all of our children whose fears these attacks kindle, and the fears we in turn feel for them.

Image via REUTERS/Joe Penney/RNS

Two years after the abduction of nearly 300 Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram militants in northeast Nigeria, some parents are still hoping their daughters will one day be rescued. But some church leaders there are concerned that the authorities have not done enough to rescue the girls, who were ages 16 to 18 at the time of the kidnapping on April 14, 2014. About 50 of the girls escaped, but 219 remain missing.

Ryan Stewart 3-28-2016

As many Christians sat down Sunday morning to celebrate Easter, a suicide bombing targeting Christians halfway across the world in Lahore, Pakistan killed 72 people and injured at least 320. Right as American Christians were shouting, “He is risen, Alleluia!” an entire city cried out in horror and mourning. As American children hunted Easter eggs, a bomb exploded into Pakistani children visiting a neighborhood park.

Todd Green 3-28-2016

Syrian refugees who came from Aleppo waiting at the refugee camp in Essalame border gate on Turkey - Syria border in Essalame, Syria in February. gungorkarakus / Shutterstock.com

The Christian tradition calls its followers not to bear false witness. So how do we live out this calling? What does it mean not to bear false witness against Muslims in the age of ISIS? Here are three false assumptions, if not outright lies, often repeated about Muslims and terrorism, along with some facts that can help us have more honest conversations about our Muslim neighbors and about the violence we encounter in western nations.

Image via REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/RNS

Pope Francis made an emotional appeal for global peace during his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) Easter blessing, urging people to remember victims of the “blind and brutal violence” in recent terrorist attacks, such as last week’s Brussels bombings that killed 31 people.

Throughout, he emphasized a key theme of his pontificate: mercy.

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