Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and other church leaders are calling for prayers after a terrorist attack in Istanbul, Turkey that has left at least 41 dead and 239 wounded.
On the evening of Tuesday, June 28, three attackers arrived by taxi at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and started shooting. Shortly after police started shooting back, the attackers detonated bombs they were carrying. At least one Canadian was among those injured by the shooting and explosions, according to the CBC. The Turkish government says it believes the terrorist group ISIS is responsible.
The incident comes about three months after a terrorist attack at Brussels Airport in Belgium.
“It appears that airports are becoming targets for such crimes against humanity,” Hiltz says in a statement released Wednesday, 29 June. “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 terrorizing 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,” the primate continues. “Once on board and settled in my seat, I pray particularly for the captain, crew, and all onboard the flight that we may know travelling mercies.”
The primate then asks readers to join him in a prayer “for all who travel and for all whose work is ensuring their security and safety.”
The prayer begins with a request that we remember before God the victims of the bombing, and their grieving loved ones. Hiltz then asks readers to pray for the seriously injured and traumatized, as well as those taking care of them in hospitals.
“Let us pray too for all who are perpetrators of religiously-based violence and the chaos it brings,” the statement continues. “Pray for conversion of hearts.
“Pray that the world be free of such crimes against humanity.”
The primate’s statement concludes with a request 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’.”
Similar statements are being made by other Christian leaders. On Twitter this morning, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, “Our hearts cry out in prayer for the victims and families of the terrible attack in Istanbul,” adding, “In prayer and faith we also commit to resisting the evil of violence and religious extremism.”
As reported by the Anglican Communion News Service, the website of the Anglican Diocese in Europe’s chaplaincy in Istanbul stated through its website, “We pray for all who will not hear the Gospel of love on this-another day of evil murders in Istanbul.”
The Istanbul chaplaincy was itself the victim of a terrorist attack in 2003.
Meanwhile, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, condemned Tuesday’s attack in a statement released Wednesday, 29 June. “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,” the statement reads.