So many countries scarred by terrorist attacks

France, Afghanistan, Austria, Mozambique… so many countries scarred by terrorist attacks in the last few weeks. Who are the victims? In France a teacher, people inside a church, students in Afghanistan, in Austria passers-by standing close to a synagogue, in Mozambique men and teenagers taking part in an initiation ceremony.

My first thoughts go to the families of the victims, to their relatives and friends. On behalf of LAI and myself, I assure them of our heartfelt compassion; we share their aching sadness and pray for them.

The context of those attacks varies a lot from one country to another, but they are all committed by fanatics skewing the religion in whose name they kill in order to promote an obscurantist ideology.

Beyond the anger and revolt elicited by the monstrosity of those actions, beyond the unspeakable emotion it arouses in our hearts, let us come to our senses:

– to refuse to identify all Muslims with that barbarity, even though some of them have condoned such bloody actions.

– to refuse to get locked into fears that would raise walls between the citizens of the same country.

– to refuse to be led down the path of hatred.

When confronted with this abyss of violence, we are left with one answer: « responding to evil with good », words which I am borrowing from the Pope’s message in these tragic circumstances; being an architect of peace by getting to know each other, by engaging together in discussion, by finding opportunities to act together, by opening up to tolerance and the respect of others; « freedom is a right, brotherhood is a duty »: let us fulfil this duty by making brotherhood a daily experience; only then will we follow in the footsteps of Christ.

Monique Bodhuin