Religious groups and political leaders are speaking out against the violent attacks in Brussels today.
Christian, Catholic and Muslim leaders all joined together in condemning the horrifyingly cruel terrorist attacks that occurred through Brussels airport Tuesday morning, at approximately 8:00am. Two bombs exploded at the Brussels’ Zaventum airport, while another went off on a metro train around 9:11am, causing the death of at least 34 individuals. It has been declared that the airport will be closed until at least Thursday. At roughly 4:40pm of the same day, the Islamic State Group (ISIS) posted in their Amaq new agency that they claim responsibility for the attacks, stating that “its extremists opened fire in the airport and ‘several of them’ detonated suicide belts.” According to the extremist terrorist group, a suicide attacker also detonated in the metro train. The Belgian federal prosecutor’s office pleaded with the media to refrain from spreading any information about the investigation following the attacks.
Several religious and political leaders have spoken up against the fatal attacks. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said that the attacks were a “black moment” for the country, calling on citizens to “show calmness and solidarity.” French President Francois Hollande said in a statement that that attacks were “a global threat which necessitates a global response.” True enough, a unified response has ensued from various religious leaders and groups.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called for prayer on Twitter: “Deeply shocked by cruel attacks in Brussels. This Holy Week let us pray for the victims, for peace and for true service to our loving God.” He also published a statement on Facebook, citing the contrast between acts of terror and the call of God for mercy and peace. “In the great Holy Week of Christian prayer and mercy, the Brussels attacks shock all those who seek peace and justice through the terrible cruelty and utter separation from all that is of God. Once again we see the contrast between the vain efforts to terrify through indiscriminate murder, and the call of God to be those who show mercy, who seek peace and pursue it. Let us at every service this week pray for those caught up in the traumatic events at the airport and in the City of Brussels.” Other Christian leaders did the same, uniting in solidarity with Belgium.
Deeply shocked by cruel attacks in Brussels. This Holy Week let us pray for the victims, for peace and for true service to our loving God.
— Justin Welby ن (@JustinWelby) March 22, 2016
Muslim leaders in Belgium also expressed condemnation of the recent attacks, citing that ISIS main purpose in attacking is to forge disunity within and without the Muslim community, fearing a possible backlash that will hurt the community and possibly make way for the recruitment of more ISIS extremists. The Executive of Muslims in Belgium declared: “"These dramatic events in the heart of Europe undermine the efforts of society … and the full Muslim community in Belgium to harmoniously live together. That is why, in the name of all Muslim citizens, the EMB (Belgian Muslim Executive) calls for unity and unanimity to together establish a coalition against violence and terrorism.”
The head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad issued a statement as well:
— Khalil Yousuf (@KhalilYousuf) March 22, 2016
On March 22, the Catholic Bishops of Belgium sent a statement, likewise condemning the acts of terror while urging the community to pray in unity: “The bishops of Belgium are appalled to learn of the attack at Zaventem airport and in the center of Brussels. They share the anguish of thousands of travelers and their families, aviation professionals and the first responders who are once again called to service. They entrust the victims to the prayers of all in this new dramatic situation. Airport chaplains are every day at the service of all and provide the necessary spiritual support. May the whole country live these days with a great sense of civic responsibility.”
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin spoke in behalf of the Pope: “Learning of the attacks in Brussels affecting many people, His Holiness Pope Francis entrusts to God’s mercy those who died and joined in prayer with their relatives. He expresses his deepest sympathy to the injured and their families, and all those who are contributing to relief, asking the Lord to bring them comfort and consolation in the ordeal,” he asserted. “The Holy Father again condemns the blind violence that causes so much suffering and implores God for the gift of peace. He invokes God’s blessings for the bereaved families and for the people of Belgium.”
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron convened with his cabinet to discuss how the country would handle the aftermath of the attacks, while the Foreign Office issued a warning for its constituents to stay away from crowds, for “fear of copycat attacks.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with King Philippe of Belgium to offer condolences for what he called a “barbaric crime.” According to the Russian Presidential Press Service, “The head of the Russian state condemned this barbaric crime, which has no justification and which confirms once again that terrorism knows no borders and threatens the peoples all over the world.”
— Kareem Ayoub (@KareemAyoub) March 22, 2016
- Christian Today
- Religion News Service
- Vatican Radio
- Russian Presidential Press Service
- New York Times
- USA Today