People hug on the street near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. Gunmen and bombers attacked busy restaurants, bars and a concert hall at locations around Paris on Friday evening, killing dozens of people in what a shaken French President described as an unprecedented terrorist attack. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann - RTS6X48

World religious leaders condemn Paris carnage

People hug on the street near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. Gunmen and bombers attacked busy restaurants, bars and a concert hall at locations around Paris on Friday evening, killing dozens of people in what a shaken French President described as an unprecedented terrorist attack. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann - RTS6X48

People hug on the street near the Bataclan concert hall after the fatal attacks in Paris. Gunmen and bombers attacked multiple locations around the city on Friday evening (Nov. 13, 2015), killing scores of people in what a shaken French president described as an unprecedented terrorist attack. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis raised the specter of a World War III "in pieces," Muslims issued statements of condemnation, while evangelical Christians in America debated whether to speak of a "war with Islam."

These were some of the responses by religious leaders around the world on Saturday (Nov. 14) to the series of attacks overnight in Paris, which left more than 120 people dead.

"This is not human," Francis said in a phone call to an Italian Catholic television station. Asked by the interviewer if it was part of a "Third World War in pieces," he responded: "This is a piece. There is no justification for such things."

Earlier, the Vatican's chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, released a statement saying: "This is an attack on peace for all humanity, and it requires a decisive, supportive response on the part of all of us as we counter the spread of homicidal hatred in all of its forms."

In Cairo, Al-Azhar University, the pre-eminent seat of Sunni Muslim scholarship, called the attacks a criminal act and said that "Islam denounces any violence," the Arabic news site Al Arabiya reported, quoting Egypt's state news agency, MENA.

On Saturday morning, French President Francois Hollande said the attacks were an "act of war" carried out by the group that calls itself the Islamic State. Its propaganda arm took responsibility in statements in various languages, claiming revenge for French participation in U.S.-led military operations against its fighters in Syria and Iraq.

Witnesses had reported hearing the cry "Allahu Akbar" from gunmen, and supporters of the group cheered on social media, while many other Muslims condemned the bloodshed.

In Ireland, the imam of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre in Dublin said his thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris "and every other place on earth plagued by sick men with weapons and bombs."

"Terrorists have no religion whatsoever," said the Muslim leader, Umar Al-Qadri. "Their religion is intolerance hatred for peace."

Shuja Shafi, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “This attack is being claimed by the group calling themselves ‘Islamic State.’ There is nothing Islamic about such people and their actions are evil, and outside the boundaries set by our faith.”

In the United States, the reactions varied, including among evangelical Christians.

Franklin Graham, son of the preacher Billy Graham, said: "Islam is at war with us."

"As we pray for France we also need to pray for wisdom for the world’s leaders & that Islam will be stopped in its tracks," he tweeted.

However, evangelical author Ed Stetzer criticized the call for "war with Islam."

"I want to see Muslims come to Christ (as, yes, they want to win me to Islam). And, we can't do that by going to war with a billion people," he wrote in Christianity Today.

Among mainline Protestants, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, called upon “all Episcopalians and people of goodwill and faith to pray for those who have died.”

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, canceled a meeting with the pope at the Holy See, as well as the rest of his European trip, which was to have included a visit to Paris.

Rouhani had been due to arrive in Rome on Saturday for meetings with the pontiff and the Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi.

The Iranian leader called the attacks "crimes against humanity."

Multiple terrorist attacks in the French capital targeted civilians at a concert hall, restaurants and a sports stadium, where Hollande was present. Seven of the attackers also died.



  1. There are “few followers” of the Torah?

    The 5 books of the Torah are the same as the first 5 books of the various Christian Bibles. There are more Christians than there are Muslims and Jews combined.

    Both the Torah and the New Testament are every bit as bad as the Qu’ran.

    The Torah includes the hatred of all other religions over and over, such as in Deuteronomy 13, were those of other religions are to be killed – even if they are your family. In the New Testament, a letter of John calls all non-christians “antichrists”, and Luke has Jesus telling a parable where he has non-Christians killed in front of him, and so on.

    Any of them can be very dangerous if followed literally and radically.

    It’s good to see world religious leaders – of all kinds – condemning this violence.

  2. “Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John’s Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source……


    “Since “the higher criticism” of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] “[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,”[5] and date it to 90-100.”

    “The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle.”

  3. And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

    “Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. “

  4. I’m not sure it’s enough for “religious leaders” to mouth condemnations of this savagery. It keeps happening in spite of their pronouncements, and ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever … as well as Boko Haram, al Shabaab, the al Nusra Front, etc. all keep attracting Muslim recruits.

    Mere words are no longer sufficient. That’s been obvious for years. The Amman Message was issued 11 years ago, but it appears to have had zero effect on Islam worldwide; if anything the Islamist barbarity has gotten much worse since then.

    What good, really, are these condemnations? Why does anyone think they’ll ever matter? When will people stop talking and start acting … which has to begin with directly confronting (and disciplining) their own co-religionists?

  5. Are you responding to my mention of a letter from John inciting hatred against non-christians by saying that it wasn’t really by John? Of course it wasn’t – but biblical literalists who think it’s all the word of a deity do indeed *think* it is by John, so my point still stands. All the Abrahamic religions – and indeed any religion that accepts the supernatural and has a hateful book that the followers think is from some deity – are capable of turning loving people into monsters.

  6. Jon,

    As a good student, you have read the reiterations of the “fems” (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!

  7. It is wake up time for the Islamic world. For too long, regimes are telling us that to be a good Muslim, one has to refrain from drinking alcohol and women have to wear at least a veil. This is bull and when such trivialities are being talked about while the elephant in the room (Islamic terrorism) is not debated says it all. Alcohol is banned and women are veiled supposedly to stop violence but this violence happens anyway and blind eyes are turned and in some cases, the regimes encourage people to be violent. The Koran is abused and today’s Islamic leaders have blasphemed on Islam. It may be fashionable to single out just ISIS/al Qaeda/Taliban but the rulers of places like Saudi Arabia and some unelected elements in Iran are equally guilty of wrecking Islam and them calling ISIS evil is the kettle calling the pot black. Only an Islamic country that allows people dress/drink as they like and who do not support any violent organisation have a right to condemn ISIS. None exist.

  8. Your examples from the New Testament are either uninformed and simplistic or purposefully deceitful.
    Jesus speaking in Luke is telling a parable of a king, but he said later that His kingdom was not of this world, so his siting of the deaths of those who opposed the king were a spiritual death for those that refused to acknowledge their creator. John’s antichrists were not some superhuman and evil entities but those who would twists the ideas and words of Christ in order to deceive and lead people to the wrong conclusions (in that sense, much like what you are doing, if you are aware, and not simply confused)

    If you have a problem with those who would distort and confuse ideas toward an evil end, your beef is with the human condition, not with the ideas of those who propose to love their creator and to love their neighbors as themselves…

  9. Wow…the hypocrisy of Islam knows no bounds,does it? Specifically, the blatant hypocrisy of Al-Azhar University.A few months ago,the…”preeminent seat of Sunni Muslim scholarship”…,refused to label these vicious murderers,rapists,and kidnappers of children apostates (which begs the obvious question: What foul,heinous deed WOULD render one an apostate in the Islamic mindset??); now,we are actually supposed to believe that Islam doesn’t condone or support violence to achieve its aims? Is that some kind of joke, only understood in the so-called “Muslim world “??? Give me a break.If this so-called ” university “actually propogates such nonsense,it has ZERO credibility as a viable entity deciding ANY modicum of truth.What a joke!

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