BLOG 315 August 22, 2016
Father Jacques Hamel had spent a life time as a Roman Catholic priest in his parish in the Normandy region , France. The 85-year-old French priest had been conducting evening worship in his Saint Etienne du Rouvrat Church when two men rushed in from the back and grabbed him. Screaming in Arabic Allah Akbar, they bend the priest over the altar rail and virtually decapitated him.
The terrified tiny congregation of two parishioners and three nuns watched in disbelief and horror. Their small number to some extent reflects the condition of the Christian faith in Western Europe. The future might well rest with a combination of African immigrants and Latin-Mass traditionalists, but the small number attending in Normandy certainly reflects the current situation.
However, we see ever more clearly what the intentions of ISIS is for other religious groups. There is no surprise in the martyrdom of Father Hamel. The extreme Muslims have never made any secret of their desire to attack churches and synagogues. As they continue to fall behind in the Iraqi and Syrian battlefields, their attacks on Christians and Jews surge forward.
In April, 2015, one of the attackers Sid Ghlam had been arrested on suspicion of planning assaults with Father Hamel’s church on his “to do” list. He had already been in contact with an ISIS leader in Syria who instructed him to attack churches and ordered Saint Etienne du Rouvay as a primary target.
In one sense there is nothing new in this story. ISIS has been murdering Christians by the thousands in their controlled territories. The media has generally not heavily reported this history because it is too gruesome. In Mosel, the heads of Christian children are on poles in the park. ISIS now tells recruits not to come to Syria or Iraq but stay in their own lands and attack the infidels at home.
France, Belgium, and Germany tell the story. The only thing that has kept England and America from these Church assaults is extreme readiness. However, France and Belgium were not negligent in their defense against terrorist. But attacks in a Church? Christians shutter at such an idea, that it is now a fact.
The propaganda that ISIS uses to inspire such assaults often comes from Medieval times. The 14thcentury cleric Ibn Rajah wrote, “In charity it is permitted to kill people and animals in the easiest way … the easiest way is to strike off the neck with the sword of violence.” Sid Ghlam must have been reading Rajah.
By the way, there should be no surprises about the killing. ISIS attacks other Muslims who disagree with them. Their basic philosophy is agree 100% with us or you are dead.
I am sure much of what I have written will sound crazy (even with the craziness of the current American political campaign going full tilt) – because it is crazy. But crazy kills.
The world had best pay close attention.