Massacre in France: RNS Promises Islam v. Terrorism Debate, Doesn’t Deliver

Barb Wire

“Bastille Day attack reignites terrorism and religion debate,” trumpets a headline at Religion News Service. Big over-promise there. The article has less debating than intoning – with one leader after another denouncing terrorism in the name of Islam.

Details are still emerging about the murderous drive of a 19-ton truck that killed at least 84 and injured 202 in Nice, France. Tunisian-born Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the driver, left no note or video, as do many suicidal terrorists.

Still, supporters of ISIS/ISIL/the Islamic State have been “celebrating the massacre,” as theWashington Post reports. It notes also that five years ago, Al-Qaida’s online magazine recommended using vehicles to “mow down” victims.

The possibility that Bouhlel was a jihadi prompted a range of religious leaders – from Pope Francis to Shawqi Allam, the Grand Mufti of Egypt – to condemn the attack. Here’s a sample from the RNS piece:

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The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, took to social media to comment on the killings: “As the French rejoice in their liberty, human evil kills the innocent cruelly. Let us weep with them, let us stand with them #PrayForNice.”

Sheikh Salman al-Auda, a Saudi cleric, said the attacker would be cursed by “God, his angels and all human beings,” according to The Guardian.

Allam, the Egyptian grand mufti, who is the country’s official interpreter of Islamic law, said people who commit such ugly crimes “are corrupt of the earth and follow in the footsteps of the devil … and are cursed in life and in the hereafter,” according to Egypt’s Ahram Online newspaper.

And Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the highest seat of Sunni Islamic learning, issued a statement saying such “vile terrorist attacks contradict Islamic teachings,” Ahram reported…

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Jim Davis
Jim Davis writes for, scrutinizing religion coverage in mainstream media. He also runs the Faith and Values page on Facebook, and freelances as a writer and photographer with The Florida Catholic newspaper. He worked for more than three decades as the religion editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, covering national as well as local events and issues. His other projects have included copy editing and writing for a Christian web designer, editing educational white papers for the University of Florida, and publicizing Jewish studies at Florida International University.

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