Terrorism Strikes Another House of Worship

16th Street Baptist Church, (Birmingham, AL) AME Church, (Charleston, SC), Wisconsin Sikh Temple, St. Georges and St. Mark’s Churches in Egypt, Santa Maria Church in Surabaya, Pentecost Central Church, Indonesian Christian Church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Philippines, Al-Askari Mosque, (Samarra, Iraq), St. Michael’s Church, (Indiana), Mount Zion AME Church, Christ Church, (Lahore, Pakistan), All Saints Church, (Peshawar, Pakistan), Hebrew Benevolent Temple, (Atlanta, GA), Macedonia Baptist Church, Temple Beth El, (Syracuse, NY), Iman Ali Mosque, St. Etienne Church, (Normandy, France), Tree of Life Synagogue, (Pittsburg, PA), Chakwal Mosque, East Texas Churches, Methodist Church, (Quetta, Pakistan), Church of Christ, (Gwoza, Nigeria),  Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, (Alindao, CAR), Coptic Church of the Virginia Mary, (Mostord, Egypt), St. Ignatius Church, (Ayar-Mbalom, Nigeria), Marmina Coptic Church, (Cairo, Egypt), Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque, Bethel Memorial Methodist Church, (Quetta, Pakistan) Al-Abbas Mosque, Quebec City Mosque, St. Paul’s ACK Church, (Ukunda, Kenya), Al Noor Mosque and Lindwood Mosque (Christchurch, New Zealand) and others. . .

It doesn’t matter what religion one practices or what House of Worship one enters to pray to God. Everyone should be able to pray and worship without violence. But that has not been the case, and the horrific killings in New Zealand are just the most recent example of a terrorist attack on Houses of Worship. The world which we live in seems to be facing more senseless violence. The evil individual who conducted the attacks on two mosques in New Zealand sought to not only kill individuals while they worshipped but also wanted to reach out using Facebook and a GoPro video camera to publish his horrific deeds. This is not the first time a terrorist sought to publish propaganda.

Fahd Mohammed Ahmed Al-Quso was supposed to videotape Al Qaeda’s attack on the USS Cole. But he overslept and the filming of the attack on the USS Cole never happened. Abu Musab al Zarqawi had the beheading of Nick Berg videotaped. Mohamed Merah used a GoPro to capture his violent attacks in Lyon, France in 2012. Amedy Coulibaly took hostages in the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket. He then used a GoPro to capture video and upload the materials to a laptop and send out as propaganda.

The terrorist in the Christchurch mosques attacks published a manifesto to 70 people prior to beginning his horrific killing sprees. To further spread his propaganda, he painted in white names of individual terrorists, historical dates, symbols of nationalist, Neo-Nazi and anti-migration and events associated with his ideological way of thinking. Once again, we see a terrorist using social media to spread his hate-filled message. This individual sought to exploit differences on firearms, migration, social, ethnic and racial divides across the globe.

On September 18, 1963, the Rev. Martin Luther King spoke at the funeral for three of the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham. Rev. King stated that “in spite of the darkness of this hour we must not become bitter.” That is what this terrorist and others filled with hatred would want. King further stated that “Life is hard, at times as hard as crucible steel. But today you do not walk alone.” Over 800 ministers of all faiths and over 4,000 people attended the funeral of these three little girls. An attack on one House of Worship is an attack on all. And the families of those who were killed in New Zealand and those injured should know that they do not walk alone.

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