Religious leaders prayed for London after another terrorist attack in Britain left seven dead and scores injured on the eve of the Christian holiday Pentecost and during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The attack, in which a van was deliberately driven into pedestrians on London Bridge and the three men in the van then ran amok with knives, stabbing passers-by, took place less than two weeks after the bomb attack in Manchester and just over two months after an Islamist attack in Westminster at the heart of Parliament.
The three assailants, who were all shot dead by police, are understood to be Islamist terrorists, with witnesses saying they heard one of them shout “This is for Allah,” as he stabbed one victim.
The deadly events coincide with two of the holiest times in the Muslim and Christian calendars: Ramadan and Pentecost, which fell June 4, and left religious leaders shocked at not only the violence but the timing.
Harun Khan, the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, condemned the attacks in his home city in the strongest terms. “That this should happen in this month of Ramadan, when many Muslims were praying and fasting only goes to show that these people respect neither life nor faith,” he said.
Christian leaders who expected to spend Sunday celebrating the feast of Pentecost instead turned their attention to the attacks which took place a day earlier in the London Bridge area, which has become one of the capital’s most popular neighborhoods for restaurants and bars.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, tweeted: “Again we grieve with wounded and bereaved, as they face pain and struggle. Today we pray ‘Come Holy Spirit’, Spirit of peace and of healing.”
Later the archbishop, who was preaching at a Pentecost service in Kent, about 40 miles east of London, warned that the U.K. could end up “hiding behind closed doors” and urged Christians not to be afraid. He was referring to the disciples hiding behind closed doors at the time of Pentecost.
“There is a risk of our nation becoming a people who flee danger and try and lock themselves away when our culture, our history and our calling is to be those who overcome danger and overcome those who cause danger,” Welby said.
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SOURCE: Religion News Service