The First Church in the West Hit by Terror; Will it be the last?
It wasn't Paris, Brussels or Nice. This time two Islamic terrorists hit the sleepy French town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, a little village far from the big cities.
Eighty-six-year-old parish priest Father Jacques Hamel became ISIS's latest victim when they slit his throat during mass.
The attackers left behind a Catholic nun fighting for her life, a hamlet shocked, and France once again reeling from yet another terror attack ISIS took the credit and reveled that they hit the "crusaders" in their home.
For months, ISIS has proven they can hit main sites like the Brussels airport or Nice's famous promenade on the Mediterranean but striking a small, obscure community in northern France spreads their deadly web.
The Washington Post called it a "dangerous new phase of amateur assaults in the hinterlands that have suddenly turned anyone, anywhere into a target."
According to counter terrorism expert, Dr. Sebastian Gorka the Eglise St.-Etienne, became the first church hit by ISIS in the West. It actually was a church on their hit list.
"This attack shows the true face of the brutal nature and the horror of terrorism. The whole free world must understand that our values are under attack," Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said.
The free world is under attack. As CNN reported, this attack added to their now two-year global terrorism resumé since June of 2014. They have killed more than 2,000 people in 29 countries.
Terror is their tactic and they get it from the Quran. Here's what it says to do to the infidel in Surah 8:12: "I am with you, give the believers firmness; I shall put terror into the hearts of the disbelievers. Strike above their necks and strike their fingertips."
They mean to overwhelm the West with fear and terror. They want us spinning emotionally from one attack to another. As Robert Spencer said in Jihad Watch, "And that's what the Islamic State wants: to overwhelm the system with so many jihad attacks like this one that the system cannot keep up, and collapses."
In our world of ubiquitous and instantaneous social media, the attacks in France this week or Germany last week stamp their mark on our global psyche. Western leaders seem impotent to stop these random assaults.
The attack on this Catholic Church demonstrates Christians are the target and the enemy. The Quran lays the foundation for this assault. In Surah 5:17 the Quran says, "They have certainly disbelieved who say that Allah is Christ, the son of Mary."
This war on the "disbeliever" has gone on for years in the Middle East and it's creeping into the West. For example, when we reported from Brussels just after the terror attack there in March, a leading counter terrorism expert told us that the plotters originally planned their attacks on Easter Sunday, not several days earlier.
Before that for years, Christians in the Middle East have been targets, whether from St. George's in Baghdad, Minya in Upper Egypt, or Mosul in northern Iraq. Christianity and Christians are in danger of extinction in the birthplace of our faith.
The Telegraph reported, "Christians made up 14 percent of the region's population in 1910; they comprise just 4 percent today. Thousands of churches have been attacked, and over 100,000 Christians fled from Iraq alone. The killing of Father Jacques Hamel in Normandy yesterday, kneeling in his church, was foreshadowed in the countless such acts outside of Europe…"
It seems to this reporter the church in the West needs to gird itself. ISIS is prowling for easy prey, soft targets and "disbelievers."
Intelligence experts warn a parish church in Normandy may not be the last church in the crosshairs of ISIS. In this reporter's book ISIS, Iran and Israel: What You Need to Know About the Current Mideast Crisis and the Coming Mideast War, it expounds on how we can prepare, how we can brace ourselves for this war.
One of those is prayer. Peter said, "But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayer." (I Peter 4:7)
The assault on the Eglise St.-Etienne may have been the first attack on a Christian church in the West and Father Jacques Hamel may have been the first Western martyr. But they may not be the last.