Tuesday, January 28, 2020 | ePaper

Houses of worship attacked with deadly frequency in 2019

  • Print
AP :
Associated PressOn Dec. 1, a band of assailants opened fire on worshippers at a small-town Protestant church in Burkina Faso, an impoverished West African country where the Christian minority is increasingly a target of attacks. The victims included the pastor and several teenage boys; regional authorities attributed the attack to "unidentified armed men" who, according to witnesses, got away on motorcycles.
The slaughter merited brief reports by international news outlets, then quickly faded from the spotlight - not surprising in a year where attacks on places of worship occurred with relentless frequency. Hundreds of worshippers and many clergy were killed at churches, mosques, synagogues and temples.
A two-week span in January illustrated the scope of this somber phenomenon. In Thailand, a group of separatist insurgents attacked a Buddhist temple, killing the abbot and one of his fellow monks. In the Philippines, two suicide attackers detonated bombs during a Mass in a Roman Catholic cathedral on the largely Muslim island of Jolo, killing 23 and wounding about 100. Three days later, an attacker hurled a grenade into a mosque in a nearby city, killing two Muslim religion teachers.
On March 15, a gunman allegedly fueled by anti-Muslim hatred attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 people. The man arrested for the killings had earlier published a manifesto espousing a white supremacist philosophy and detailing his plans to attack the mosques.
At a national remembrance service two weeks later, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealanders had learned the stories of those impacted by the attacks - many of them recently arrived immigrants.
"They were stories of those who were born here, grew up here, or who had made New Zealand their home. Who had sought refuge or sought a better life for themselves or their families," she said. "They will remain with us forever. They are us."
On Easter Sunday - April 21 - bombs shattered the celebratory services at two Catholic churches and a Protestant church in Sri Lanka.
Other targets, in coordinated suicide attacks by local militants, included three luxury hotels. But Christian worshippers at the three churches - including dozens of children - accounted for a large majority of the roughly 260 people killed.
The victims at St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo included 11-month-old Avon Gomez, his two older brothers and his parents.
The day's biggest death toll - more than 100 - was at St. Sebastian's, a Catholic church in the seaside town of Negombo. It's known as "Little Rome" due to its abundance of churches and its role as the hub of Sri Lanka's small Catholic community.
The attacks surprised many in the predominantly Buddhist country, where the Christian community totals about 7% of the population and has long avoided involvement in bitter ethnic and religious divides.

More News For this Category

Public holiday extended in China to curb coronavirus epidemic

Public holiday extended in China to curb coronavirus epidemic

AFP, Beijing :Chinese authorities have ordered the extension of a public holiday in an effort to contain an epidemic that has killed 56 people and infected nearly 2,000 worldwide, state-run

Indian-Americans protest in 30 US cities against Citizenship law on Republic Day

Indian-Americans protest in 30 US cities against Citizenship law on Republic Day

PTI, Washington :India's 71st Republic day celebrations in the US on Sunday were marred by protests and marches, albeit peaceful ones, against recent changes in the citizenship law by large

Bolivia’s President asks all ministers to resign

Bolivia’s President asks all ministers to resign

AFP, La Paz :Bolivia's interim President Jeanine Anez asked all her ministers to resign a little more than three months before a general election, a statement from the presidency said

China virus toll spikes despite massive lockdown

AFP, Wuhan :The toll from China's viral epidemic spiked on Monday to 80 dead with hundreds of new infections despite unprecedented quarantines and travel lockdowns, as foreign governments scrambled to

More than 2,000 now infected with coronavirus; 56 dead in China

More than 2,000 now infected with coronavirus; 56 dead in China

Reuters :More than 2,000 people globally have been infected with a new coronavirus, the vast majority of them in China, where 56 people have died from the disease, according to

Coronavirus contagion rate makes it hard to control

Reuters :Each person infected with coronavirus is passing the disease on to between two and three other people on average at current transmission rates, according to two separate scientific analyses

US committed to Syria fight; missions up against IS: General

US committed to Syria fight; missions up against IS: General

AP, Green Village Military Outpost :U.S. troops at military outposts ín eastern Syria asked variations of the same question to their top commander Saturday: What is our future here? What

More than 100 people under observation in India

India TV News :As world goes through Coronavirus scare, more than 100 people in India have been put under observation to detect whether they are infected by the deadly virus

US vice police fired over Stormy Daniels strip-club arrest

US vice police fired over Stormy Daniels strip-club arrest

AFP, Washington  :Two US vice squad police officers were fired for wrongfully arresting porn star Stormy Daniels, who has claimed an affair with President Donald Trump, city officials in Columbus,

Thousands rally across Australia for 'Invasion Day' protests

Thousands rally across Australia for 'Invasion Day' protests

AFP, Melbourne :Thousands of people joined Invasion Day protests in cities across Australia Sunday to mark the beginning of British colonisation of the vast continent.January 26 is officially recognised as