Twenty-one years ago, in Manchester, England, on Saturday 15 June 1996 in the very late morning, a bombing attack was carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army. They detonated a 1,500-kilogram truck bomb on Corporation Street in the centre of Manchester [the biggest ever bomb the IRA ever exploded on the British mainland, and which left no building within half a mile unscathed (when the bomb exploded, the blast could be heard from 15 miles away)]. The IRA had sent telephoned warnings before the bomb detonated, so a massive number of people were able to be evacuated from the area, but still then more than 200 people were injured. The perpetrators of the attack were never caught.
There was valid concern that Manchester’s considerable Irish community might be subjected to reprisal attacks, but the people of Manchester stood together.
A week ago in Manchester, England, on Monday 22 May 2017 in the very late evening, a suicide bombing attack was carried out by a British Muslim ISIS terrorist. He detonated a shrapnel-laden improvised explosive device at the indoor Arena venue in the centre of Manchester. No warning was given before the bomb was detonated in the midst of a large number of mainly young people, who were leaving from the exit of the arena at the end of a singing concert event, so hence 22 concert-goers and parents were murdered by the now deceased attacker [the dead included ten people under 20, the youngest an eight-year-old girl]. Also 116 were injured, some critically, and currently 66 of them remain in eight hospitals, 23 of them, including 5 children, are in critical care. [Of those hospitalised, 12 were children under the age of 16].
The 22-year-old dead terrorist is suspected of working within a wider terrorist network, and the police have reportedly made vast progress in exposing a large part of that terror network. [14 people in England including key players are currently under arrest and in custody in connection with the atrocity, with thirteen of them men and one as young as 18. The terrorist’s father and brother were arrested in Libya.].
The people of Manchester are of brave and resilient communities, and importantly will stick together, will not be divided, will forever continue to stand together, so they can indeed get through this thing.
The Manchester landscape may get changed by such atrocities, which will cause widespread grief, but as we’ve seen before the Mancunian people will never be cowed by them, nor retaliate now with hate crimes against innocent decent law-abiding Muslims.
This Country must not meet the religious hate and evil of the jihadist groups in kind, but we can overcome it through the love and worship of our God, can’t we?
Lifted below is from a Baptist Church service held by Rev John Walford and some prayers said by Calvin Horner, which might seem appropriate, to many of us?
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, (Or the valley of the shadow of death) I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
So we pray for those who have lost loved ones in this terrible attack. We ask that they would know your comfort and peace in their loss. We ask that they would be comforted by your Holy Spirit and would be surrounded by people who can bring your love and care. We ask for your compassion and wisdom for those ministering to them, not just now but for the months ahead.
We pray for those who have been injured in the attack. We ask that you will give wisdom to those who are treating them. We ask that they would receive your healing touch, both in their bodies, but also in their minds and spirits so that they can cope with the trauma and shock of what has happened and any permanent disabilities of mind or body. We ask that you will give strength to their loved ones so that they are able to support them at this difficult them and in the months ahead.
We thank you for those who put themselves in danger to help others. We ask that you will bless them. We thank you for showing through them that love and self-giving are greater than hate and evil.
We give thanks for the emergency services and for those who are investigating the terror network that was behind the crime. We thank you for the progress they have made and that the terror level has been reduced and ask that they will find success to stop further attacks.
We pray for those who have been arrested. We ask that they will receive justice and that they will be held accountable for their actions. We pray that they will come to recognise the evil of what they have done and will repent of it, so that they turn to you and away from evil.”
[As a result of this latest outrage, a Muslim said “they look at me and I know what they are thinking” – the problem is that he is right, isn’t he? But none of this evil is in reality associated with the ordinary Muslims on our streets, so feel for them – the Islam religion has been hijacked and it is the leaders , indeed the mosque authorities, who have allowed an evil invasive cancer to spread in parts of the UK, don’t you think?]