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The London Attacks

By June 5, 2017June 30th, 2020London, The Weekly, UK

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true. Soren Kierkegaard

Last night, Saturday the 3rd of June, the United Kingdom experienced its third terrorist attack since March, 2017.

On the 22nd of May, 22 people were killed and 116 were injured in a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. The attacker, identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, detonated his home-made bomb in the arena’s entry way as crowds were leaving the concert.

Previously, on the 22nd of March, six people died, including the terrorist while at least 50 people were injured in an attack near the Houses of Parliament. A man named, Khalid Masood drove his car at pedestrians on the pavement on Westminster Bridge before crashing into a fence. Masood, armed with a knife, then left the vehicle and ran towards Parliament, where he was shot dead by police.

The Review:

Saturday evening’s attack occurred around 10 pm as Londoners enjoyed dinner and a stroll along the River Thames.

Here’s what is known about how events unfolded on Saturday night:

• Metropolitan police say they began to receive reports that a vehicle had struck pedestrians on London Bridge at 22:08 BST.

• The vehicle – a white van – continued to drive from London Bridge to Borough Market.

* The suspects then left the car and a number of people were stabbed or sliced, including a police officer.

*One attacker was heard shouting, “This is for Allah.”

• Three male suspects were shot dead by police within eight minutes of the initial call about the incident.

• The suspects were wearing hoax explosive vests. The suspects’ identities have not been revealed.

• Seven people were killed in the attack and at least 48 were taken to hospital. Several are in serious condition.

• No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack. Although ISIS has not taken credit for the attacks in this weeks weekly al Naba magazine the Manchester attacks were praised and it vowed that soon more attacks in the UK would happen.

The Why:

For most of us it is unimaginable to consider what must go on in the mind of a human being that decides to commit this kind of atrocity. How do you possibly justify this kind of action? What kind of desperation must you be suffering?

These kinds of terrible events are becoming way too common. Have these kinds of attacks become the “new normal?” We no longer ask why. We try not to think about it, lest it cause us to feel depressed and stressed. For the child of God this is an unacceptable response to this kind of terror. We must care, because God cares. We must allow it to darken the door of our heart for a season, because it darkens His door. We must do something, because He is doing something.

What is the point of these attacks? Is this Islamic? You have heard me say and I will say it over and over again; not all Muslims hold to these principles. Most Muslims are like other people everywhere. They do not fully understand the religion they profess. Having said that, I am also convinced that these attacks cannot be divorced from Islam. Here is a recent statement from a highly respected Muslim sheikh (teacher), Salman Al Awda on al Jazeera television. He was featured on a show called “Sharia and Life.” He said three things which struck me.

▪ “The use of terror under this doctrine [Targhib wal tarhib, “luring and terrorizing”] is a legitimate sharia obligation.”

▪ Part of the tarhib or “terrorizing” side of this doctrine is to make a cruel example of those who do not comply with the requirements of Islam. That is the reason Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, and entities such as ISIS, intentionally hold ceremonial public beheadings, floggings, and amputation of limbs.

▪ Islamic jihad has always counted on people in conquered lands eventually to yield, give up and accept terrorism as part of life, similar to natural disasters, earthquakes and floods.

I might remind you that Al Jazeera is the CNN of the Middle East. They broadcast globally and are widely accepted as an authoritative news and media outlet.

So why is this happening? Islamic extremists believe that Allah is calling them to right the wrongs in the world. The world according to their twisted theology has become so destitute that Allah is reigning judgment on mankind and will do so until there is a new world order under the authority of a new Calipha or Caliph, a supreme leader appointed by Allah to rule a global Islamic state. This new world order will live under a form of law called, Sharia. It is a law based on the authority of the Qu’ran and the Caliph. Unfortunately, these attacks will not cease until they have accomplished their mission or they have been utterly defeated. For a more thorough reading of what ISIS wants, read Graeme Wood’s 2015 article in the Atlantic.

Who are these 21st century Jihadists and what do they want? I will be discussing these matters in future issues of More than Meets the Eye over the coming months.

For now, let me say that they are lonely desperate radicalized men and women who have been lied to by others. They have believed a narrative that feeds their discontentment. They are young men and women, many of whom come from normal middle class families who feel marginalized by society and who suffer great personal self doubt and loneliness.

The Action:

What are we to do? How do we respond to these kinds of actions? They are beginning to happen with such frequency that we no longer are able to contain the emotional stress they cause, so we just phase it out. We give it the old “existential shrug.” I can’t do anything about it, so why should I worry about it? “I can’t fret over all the problems in the world.” ”I have my own problems to worry about.” Few of us would so callously say these words out loud, but our actions betray us. How would Christ have us respond? What is God’s mind on this?

Here are a few things you can do to respond.

1 Read it. Engage the news. Allow yourself to be moved by it. You will never be able to impact it until you are moved by it. You will not be moved by it, if you try to ignore it.

2 Understand who your true enemy is. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

3 Pray… this is the fundamental act of all Christians in response to any tragedy. How? Pray for the victims. Pray for the families of the victims who are suffering through the unknowns. Pray for the perpetrators of the event. “But I tell you who hear Me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28). Pray that they will come under the Holy Spirit’s conviction and will receive repentance and forgiveness. Pray that this madness will stop. Pray for our leaders who are charged with order and justice.

• Pray that God will rescue them from the dominion of darkness and bring them “into the kingdom of the Son He [the Father] loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).

• Pray God will make known to them His glorious riches through the mystery of Christ (Colossians 1:27). Pray that they may “know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3).

• Pray that they will “put to death whatever belongs to [their] earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5).

• Pray that they will rid themselves of “anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from [their] lips” (Colossians 3:8).

• Pray that they will become one of God’s children, “holy and dearly loved, clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

• Pray they will come to know and possess the love of the Lord (Colossians 3:14).

Prayers from Colossians taken from Kim Butts’ article on her website.

1. Learn- educate yourself on how you can prevent these things from happening in your community. Are there people in your area who might be predisposed to radicalization of any sort, not just Islamic radicalization?

2. Become situationally aware.. Learn to pay attention when you are in public places. Practice simple situational awareness and you will be surprised at how much more safe you and your family will be.

Here are several Resources for learning to pray for those who hurt us and those around us. Here are a few places where I have turned to learn how to pray more effectively for our enemies.

a. Mary Ann Bridgwater, http://praytheword.org

b. Dave and Kim Butts, http://harvestprayer.com

c. Colin Milar, http://ignitingprayeraction.org

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