“Look! I’m making everything new.”
“What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.” ― David Levithan
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
We woke up Friday morning to yet another sad epitaph of news. A mass murder; a terrorist attack had once again occurred, this time in the land of Egypt. It is being reported as modern Egypt’s worst mass killing with 305 dead, 126 wounded and millions left in shock.
What makes this terrorist attack by Islamist Jihadists so unique and disturbing to all of us? It is disturbing because of the tragic and meaningless loss of life, including women and children, who just showed up as they always have done on a Friday morning at their mosque. What makes this attack so unique, besides its barbarity, is that the attack was directed at a mosque, a rarity in Egypt’s history of Islamist insurgencies. This signals a complete tactical shift in the normal attack patterns of Islamist extremists. Up to now there has been an unwritten rule that you do not attack mosques on Fridays. This is considered a grave sacrilege against a holy place.
The mosque was packed with 400 worshippers for Friday prayers in Egypt’s North Sinai town of Bir al-Abd when gunmen in military-style uniforms and masks appeared in a doorway and at windows. The ease with which they mounted an attack — killing 305 people in the worst bloodshed of its kind in Egypt’s modern history — highlighted the threat militant groups pose in the most populous Arab country. Jihadists were able to evade security checkpoints on Friday to carry out the worst terrorist attack in Egyptian history despite having issued a warning a week earlier that the Sinai mosque would be targeted.
The terrorists who attacked the Bir al-Abd Mosque were armed with grenades and machine guns. They arrived in four-wheel-drive vehicles to take up positions around the mosque. They then threw grenades into the building in order to kill as many of the 400 worshippers as possible. As the panicked congregation tried to escape, the killers trained their weapons on the men, women and children, killing and maiming them before stepping over the bodies and shooting any survivors in the head. It is hard to imagine more bestial behavior nor a greater blasphemy to Islam as the terrorists, parading Islamic State black flags, chanted “Allahu Akbar” to celebrate the killing of more than 300 people. “There was no way to talk to them,” said Rizk, “they didn’t come to talk. They came to kill because they think we are infidels. They say the mosque belongs to a Sufi order, but what I know is that it belongs to the Ministry of Endowments. Also, not all the village residents follow Sufism,” quoting Rizk to Mada Masr. The victims were mostly Sunni Sufi Muslims.According to Al-Arabiya, the Islamic State (IS) published a warning, last year, via Al Nabaa newspaper, threatening the residents of a possible attack which would target al-Rawda mosque.
Egypt has declared a state of emergency in the north and center of the Sinai Peninsula. The measures will begin on Saturday at 03:00 GMT “for [a] duration of three months,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said in a statement. A three-day mourning period has been declared across the country, while a curfew has been put in place between 7pm and 7am in areas covered by the state of emergency declaration, according to state media.
There are several important lessons for us as we consider how to be “Christian” in response to the news we just read.
- Does the barbaric taking of the lives of complete strangers bother us in the least? “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15) God’s word teaches us to weep with those who weep. It ought to bother us. It bothers our Father a lot!
- The depths of Satan’s hatred for mankind has no limits. The Muslim peoples are not our enemies. They need our loving intercession. They are victims of a great wrong! They need our love, not our disdain or fear. We as followers of Jesus Christ are compelled to love those who are being led astray by the evil one. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8) He whom we follow came to destroy the works of Satan. That in part is why Satan hates us. He hates us and those whom God loves. (John 3:16)
- If the Islamic Jihadists will wreak this kind of hatred on those of their kin, what hesitation will they have in killing us with as great a severity? This matters to us because the day will soon come when this hatred will find itself in an unadulterated display of monstrosity in our communities.
- In all the realms of darkness, the opportunity to shine brightly has never been greater!
Perhaps like never before we have the opportunity to bring peace and light into this world by being the Jesus that the Muslim world never sees. Rather than a vindictive revenge for these atrocities, why not love the people? Why not demonstrate the love of God through prayer and service?
- We can show our love for them by praying for them. We can pray for comfort in their pain. We can pray that through their pain they will find the One who heals all their pain and forgives them of all their sin.
- We can demonstrate our love for them by serving the Muslims who live around us. Let me challenge you to consider looking for Muslims that reside near you and inviting them into your home. Invite them for dinner. Take them some cookies. Take them out to dinner. Ask them to tell you about their lives.
- Share the Good News with them. As they share with you the story of their lives, ask the Lord to put it in their minds to ask you about the story of your life. Commit before the Lord to tell them the Good News of how Jesus came and found you in your pain and sin and how he brought you to himself through Jesus Christ.
- As we enter into this Christmas season find an opportunity to involve Muslims as you celebrate. Most have no idea what it is all about. Most simply think it is a time to indulge in unbridled consumerism. They find little in our modern media to reveal the reason for Christmas.
Here is a beautiful scripture passage reminding us of where this is all headed. The implication is that one day there will be no more tears. This tells me that there will most likely be plenty of tears along the journey to this amazing homeland to which we are all looking forward to one day.
I heard a voice of thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.” Revelation 21:4 MSG.
The Times London
Al Jazeera- Revenge
Al Jazeera- State of Emergency
Times of Israel
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
The National- Egypt
The National -Egypt