[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Last night’s terror attack at Istanbul International Airport has been met with a wave of prayer from Anglican and other Christian leaders. “Our hearts cry out in prayer for the victims and families of the terrible attack in Istanbul,” the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said on Twitter. “In prayer and faith we also commit to resisting the evil of violence and religious extremism.”
In Istanbul itself, The Diocese in Europe’s chaplaincy at Christ Church – where three of the stained glass windows in its Consulate Chapel were restored after a previous terrorist attack in 2003 – said on its website: “We pray for all who will not hear the Gospel of love on this – another day of evil murders in Istanbul.” One of the restored windows at the chapel depicts Jesus handing the keys of heave to St Peter.
The Diocese in Europe Tweeted: “On the Feast of St Paul [who took the gospel to the people of Asia Minor] we pray for the people of Asia Minor, suffering repeatedly at the hands of terrorists.”
The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, described the attack as an “odious crime”, saying: “We pray for the victims and their families; and we hope and pray there can be a redoubling of efforts to bring peace to the region to end the conflicts which are fuelling such odious criminal acts.
“This attack is particularly monstrous as it was clearly aimed at causing maximum casualties to the innocent during a particularly busy time at one of the world’s busiest hub airports.”
The attack unfolded when three gunmen opened fire on people in the airport. Two were shot and wounded by police but managed to detonate their suicide bomb-vest in the airport’s main terminal. A third attacked detonated his suicide bomb-vest in the airports car park. The Turkish government has blamed Daesh for the attack.
The death toll has been rising throughout the day. At the time of publication, it stood at 41 – at least 13 of whom were foreign nationals. Some 239 people were injured.
The Primate of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, said in a statement: “It appears that airports are becoming targets for such crimes against humanity. Hundreds and hundreds of people waiting in long security lines, huge departure lounges, and massive arrivals areas are easy prey for those who are intent on terrorising and killing innocent people, intimidating governments, and threatening world security.
“As many of you know, I fly a lot in the work of my ministry, and I never pass through an airport without a prayer for all who are travelling. Once on board and settled in my seat, I pray particularly for the captain, crew, and all on-board the flight that we may know travelling mercies.”
He asked people to join him “in praying for all who travel and for all whose work is ensuring their security and safety”. He published this prayer:
Let us remember before God all the victims of the bombings in Istanbul and their loved ones who grieve.
Let us pray all those seriously injured and traumatized and those who tend them in hospitals.
Let us pray too for all who are perpetrators of religiously-based violence and the chaos it brings.
Pray for conversion of hearts.
Pray that the world be free of such crimes against humanity.
Pray that we all live by the counsel given by God through his servant Micah:
“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with God”.