Pope Francis has condemned the deadly terror attack on a nightclub in Istanbul, in which a gunman opened fire just one and a half hours into 2017 at revelers, killing at least 39 people and wounding at least 69.
Speaking to pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the New Year’s Day recitation, Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims and their families, as well as the whole Turkish people.
Departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis said, “Deeply saddened, I express my closeness to the Turkish people, I pray for the many victims and the injured and for the whole nation in mourning, and I ask the Lord to support all people of good will who courageously roll up their sleeves to face the plague of terrorism and the bloody stain that envelops the world with a shadow of fear and bewilderment.”
The term “Plague of Terrorism” is relatively recent – the earliest mentions we could find are all later than 2010. It depicts terrorism not as a movement, an ideology, or a strategy – which all describe essentially human behavior, but rather as an act of nature or, if you will, something whose source might be supernatural.
Metropolitan Hilarion, a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church, proclaimed back in 2015 that “Terrorism is Satanism,” writing: “We must clearly realize that it is not a war of one religious confession against another. The very notion of ‘religious terrorism’ can only lead us astray. There is no religious terrorism whatsoever. Those who have unleashed this war do not deserve to be called the faithful. They are Satanists because they do the will of the Devil, bringing to people grief, death and destruction. They are cursed by both religious leaders of all confessions and ordinary people – believers and non-believers alike throughout the world. And the only way to cope with them is to destroy them systematically and purposefully, tracking them down wherever they are hiding and eliminating them collectively and individually, for each of them poses a threat to tens, hundreds and thousands of lives.”
A Pakistani blogger calling himself Tyler Durden (after the central protagonist and antagonist in Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel Fight Club), wrote in the summer of 2016 that “the plague of terrorism was born and nurtured in Afghanistan and Pakistan in prayer houses (mosques) of God under control of fundamentalist clergies trained and funded by the same country that has supported and granted sanctuary to tyrants, dictators, political criminals, unjust rulers, oppressors and murderers.”
Pointing out to a similar conversion of a religion into a Satanic, murderous cult, Tyler Durden asserts: “The plague spans not only the Muslim countries but even the USA and European nations. […] Whether they belong to Al-Qaeda, Taliban or the Islamic State (ISIS), these bearded terrorists are products of extremism and religious fundamentalism, brainwashed in mosques by the Saudi trained clergy to indiscriminately kill men, women and children.”
And in October 2016, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari warned that “the plague of terrorism will rebound” on the governments funding it. But then Al-Jaafari also expressed Syria’s strong condemnation of the crime of using chemical weapons, stemming from its convection that using weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, is unethical.