Pope Francis prays for victims of deadly Islamic terrorist attack in Somalia

Courtney Mares   By Courtney Mares for CNA


Angelus address on June 12, 2022. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Oct 30, 2022 / 07:00 am (CNA).

Pope Francis prayed on Sunday that God may “convert the hearts of the violent” after an al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist attack in Somalia.

“As we celebrate Christ’s victory over evil and death, we pray for the victims of the terrorist attack in Mogadishu that killed more than 100 people, including many children. May God convert the hearts of the violent,” Pope Francis said on Oct. 30.

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud reported that at least 100 people were killed and nearly 300 other people were wounded by two car bombings in the country’s capital on Saturday.

Al-Shabab, a Somali-based branch of al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the Associated Press. The extremist group said that it targeted the country’s education ministry, calling it an “enemy” that is “committed to removing Somali children from the Islamic faith.”

Speaking at the end of his Angelus address, the pope also prayed for the victims of a crowd surge at a massive Halloween festival in South Korea that killed at least 151 people, according to Reuters.

“And let us also pray to the Risen Lord for those, mostly young people, who died last night in Seoul from the tragic consequences of a sudden crowd surge,” the pope said.

In his reflection on Sunday’s Gospel, Pope Francis told the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square during life’s most difficult moments “Jesus always looks at us with love.”

“God’s gaze never stops at our past full of mistakes, but looks with infinite confidence at what we can become,” the pope said.

The pope noted that Jesus looked up to see Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree in the Gospel of Luke.

“This is the history of salvation: God has never looked down on us to humiliate and judge us, no; on the contrary, he lowered himself to the point of washing our feet, looking at us from below and restoring our dignity to us,” he said.

“In this way, the meeting of eyes between Zacchaeus and Jesus seems to summarize the whole of salvation history: humanity, with its miseries, seeks redemption, but firstly, God, with mercy, seeks his creature to save it.”

Pope Francis encouraged all Christians to have the “gaze of Christ, who embraces from below, who seeks those who are lost, with compassion.”

The pope applauded the beatification of Blessed Maria Berenice Duque Hencker (1898-1993) in Medellín, Colombia on Oct. 29. He said that the foundress of the Little Sisters of the Annunciation spent her life “in the service of God and her brothers and sisters, especially the little ones and the excluded.”

“May her apostolic zeal, which prompted her to carry the message of Jesus beyond the borders of her country, strengthen in everyone the desire to participate, through prayer and charity, in spreading the Gospel throughout the world,” Pope Francis said.

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  1. The person who writes statements for Papa does a commendable job. The one who writes the homilies he delivers, also does admiral work.

    As we examine the “Religion of Peace”, some might say it has a hollow ring to it! Yet, different people have divergent views of what peace is! Jesus is the Prince of Peace, this is how we are to be guided:

    John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

    2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

    Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

    Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

    Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

    John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

  2. I request you call these criminals terrorists instead of calling them “Islamic terrorists.” As you can read in your own story, the Pope did not use that term. As a matter of fact, your entire news text above does not use that term which appears only in your headline.

    • From NPR:

      The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group, which often targets the capital and controls large parts of the country, claimed responsibility, saying it targeted the education ministry. It claimed the ministry was an “enemy base” that receives support from non-Muslim countries and “is committed to removing Somali children from the Islamic faith.”

      The al-Shabab extremist group is Islamic, not Methodist or Amish or Scientologist.

    • Dear Abdul:

      First, I praise God that you are reading CWR. It may be your first introduction to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed it is no accident that God sent you to this site.

      Regardless of how one labels these men, does it bring favour to Islam?

      Psalm 34:14 Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

      James 3:18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

      2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

      It would be a pleasure to dialogue with you.

      God’s richest blessings.


    • “I request you call these criminals terrorists instead of calling them “Islamic terrorists.”
      The perpetrators of this violence in Somalia, and indeed in other parts of the world, are followers of the Islamic faith, which calls for their actions found in the Quran and Sunnah. To claim otherwise would be disingenuous.
      Islam has one agenda to “proclaim Islam over all religion” QS 48.28 which pious Muslims have been acting upon, up to the present day.

    • When the group claiming responsibility for the attack releases a statement describing its target as an “enemy” that is “committed to removing Somali children from the Islamic faith”, it’s fair to label it an Islamic terrorist group. That Pope Francis, for predictable and discreditable ideological reasons declines to do so, does not mean the rest of us should join him.. The headline is accurate, and Mr. Olson defends it well.

    • Yours truly poses a question in the spirit of dialogue and fraternity….

      What if, instead of the term “Islamic terrorists,” we used the term zealot? Or, better yet, the term “terribles simplificateurs” (terrible simplifiers), a term coined by historian Jacob Burckhardt, in reference to ideological simpletons in the West, also set on destruction?

      Regarding which, this question:

      While in the Qur’an the “law of Moses” is respected throughout (as in Christianity), why are explicit references to this law (known in Western thought as our baked-in Natural Law) limited to the first four (affirmative) of the Ten Commandments, and (I ask) not to the prohibitive final six (e.g., Though shalt not kill)?

      Yes, Western history does not have clean hands either, but authorization (by omission) for terrorism is not found in the Gospels, because all ten of Moses’ Commandments are included. Ideological terrorism is a violation of the “the Word made flesh,” but is not prohibited under the Islamic “word made book.”

      Where in the Qur’an might we find explicit recognition of the prohibitive commandments? As a non-credentialed researcher I have looked, but possibly not thoroughly enough? Instead, unrestrained incitements to terrorism—as followed by Islamic/cross-cultural (!) “terrible simplifiers”: e.g., Q 9:123; 8:34; 2:187/191, 9:5, 47:4.

  3. If you’re going to call this Islamic terrorism maybe you will call the numerous attacks on abortion clinics, doctors and staff – always done by pious Christians- as “Christian Terrorism”? How about the mass bombings by American troops as “American Terrorism” or the fact that they are blessed by Christians as “Christian Terrorism” also?

    • Back on September 11, 2010, the Jesuit scholar Fr. Samir Khalil Samir, an Egyptian scholar of Islam who spent most of his life living and teaching in Muslim countries (and who also taught at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome), was interviewed by Edward Pentin and said the following:

      Pentin: Some would argue that the 9/11 bombers were not real Muslims, but fundamentalist ideologues and terrorists?

      Samir: Yes but this is the wrong position because radical Muslims are true Muslims. I’m not saying that the true Islam is bin Laden, this is not my opinion. But I would contend that bin Laden is a true Muslim – a true Muslim. Pastor Terry Jones [the evangelical pastor who has threatened to burn the Koran] cannot say he’s truly representing Christianity because you cannot find anything in the Gospel that says that. But all the positions of radical Muslims you’ll find in the Koran and in the tradition. You’ll find other positions, but this is one, and one that is very strongly presented in the Koran and in the Sunnah. Nine-eleven was a Muslim action even if for apologetic reasons, it’s said that this was a terrorist action and terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, that Islam means peace and so on.

      In his excellent book 111 Questions on Islam (Ignatius Press, 2008), Samir makes the following statement:

      When some fanatics kill children, women, and men in the name of pure and authentic Islam, or in the name of the Qur’an or of the Muslim tradition, nobody can tell them: ‘You are not true and authentic Muslims.’ All they can say is: ‘Your reading of Islam is not ours.’ And this is the ambiguity of Islam, from its beginning to our present day: violence is a part of it, although it is also possible to choose tolerance; tolerance is a part of it, but it is also possible to choose violence. (p. 72).

      Yes, many Muslims do reject and denounce terrorism. But, as Samir rightly notes, they cannot point to the Qur’an or the Islamic tradition for support. Which is completely unlike Christianity.

    • Though this happens infrequently, the focus is to save lives! If Christians don’t stand up against this slaughter, who will? Christ advises us to respect life, not to take it.

      On the other hand, the Prophet of Islam advises the follower to wage war on the non-believer. The marked difference here is that Jesus calls us to peace, Muhammad calls his followers to war and violence. Christians may fail individually, however Christ’s way is always the best path for all men. Let us respect all and strive for God’s peace.

      Psalm 4:8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

      Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

      Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

      God bless you.

    • Islam has a political agenda, Christianity does not.

      Jesus never called His followers to use violence in His name, to gain political control over countries, because the combat is against sin not people..

      Islam inverts this call to be combat against people not accepting Allah as the only god with Mohammed as prophet, proving the god of Islam is not the God of the Bible, but a counterfeit.

      Maybe your focus should be on your own faith first, before condemning others.

    • America’s interest is to prevent or stop war. Islam is war to its core. Jihad and migration are core beliefs. To stop war, peace minded countries have to engage warmongers, thereby opposing the enslavers.

      If a Muslim had the choice of migrating to America or another Islamic state, what would be his choice? Yes Islam likes to be accorded peaceful dealings, they have little interest in reciprocating, unfortunately.

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