Christians in the West awoke Easter morning to learn the horrible news that hundreds of their brothers and sisters in the East had been targeted by a coordinated series of suicide bombing terror attacks in the south Asian island nation of Sri Lanka.
Fox News reported that those near-simultaneous explosions, which targeted three churches during Easter worship services and three luxury hotels popular with foreign tourists, claimed the lives of at least 290 people and wounded more than 500 others.
Baptist minister and former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee spoke about the Sri Lankan terror attacks during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning. He called out the attacks for exactly what they were — “cowardly” and “disgusting” assaults against innocent members of a religious minority attempting to worship on one of the holiest days of their faith, which are part of a much broader global problem.
Asked what had been learned by the attacks, Huckabee said, “Number one, Islamic terrorism is anything but dead, it’s much alive.”
“Number two, we learned that it’s global. It’s not just targeted to a handful of countries like the United States, not just targeted to Middle Eastern countries, but across the globe. It is a global war on terrorism,” Huckabee said. “The third thing is that these are cowardly people who go after innocents. These aren’t folks who have the guts to take on a military, these are people who blow up innocent people.”
“And in this case, people who are going to church, people who are celebrating the holiest day for Christians around the world, and nothing could be more cowardly, nothing could be more disgusting, and it shows you the character of those who were involved in this kind of terror,” Huckabee added.
Fox News reported that a local Islamist extremist group is suspected of being the perpetrators behind the deadly series of bombings, a level of death and violence not seen in Sri Lanka since it ended a long-running and brutal civil war with separatists in 2009.
Sri Lankan authorities had received warnings ahead of time from foreign intelligence services that a terrorist plot was in the works, but it appears that communications issues and internal intelligence failures prevented those warnings from being heeded or acted upon in a timely manner.
The local radical Islamic group — known as the National Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath — was relatively unknown prior to the bombing attack. Some experts suspect that the group received outside help, or at the least inspiration, from any of several global terror organizations, such as Al Qaeda or the Islamic State group that recently saw their self-proclaimed “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria destroyed.
The director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, Anne Speckhard, told The New York Times, “These attacks appear to be quite different and look as if they came right out of the ISIS, Al Qaeda, global militant jihadist playbook, as these are attacks fomenting religious hatred by attacking multiple churches on a high religious holiday.”
Huckabee was absolutely correct in pointing out that these attacks — in which at least four American citizens were killed — are part of the global scourge of radical Islamic terrorism, a threat that can reach out and wreak havoc in any far-flung location on the globe. Similarly, Vice President Mike Pence noted that Christians and the Christian faith seemed to be a favored target of the global terrorists in a tweet issued in response to the Sri Lanka attacks.
Pence tweeted, “.@POTUS and I are monitoring the horrific attacks on those celebrating Easter in Sri Lanka. Our hearts & prayers are with the victims & their families. This atrocity is an attack on Christianity & religious freedom everywhere. No one should ever be in fear in a house of worship.”
.@POTUS and I are monitoring the horrific attacks on those celebrating Easter in Sri Lanka. Our hearts & prayers are with the victims & their families. This atrocity is an attack on Christianity & religious freedom everywhere. No one should ever be in fear in a house of worship.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) April 21, 2019
Both the vice president and former governor are right: radical Islamic terror is a very real threat everywhere around the world, and Christians are at the top of those jihadist’s preferred target list. That obvious truth must be recognized and acknowledged if we are ever to gain the upper hand over such intolerant extremism.
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