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ABC: “At every service this week pray for those … in the City of Brussels”

ABC: “At every service this week pray for those … in the City of Brussels”

Pictured: A passenger leaves Zaventem airport. Photograph: Virginie Lefour/AFP/Getty Images via the Guardian

Days after the arrest of the last suspect left at large after the Paris attacks last November, Brussels has been rocked by explosions. One hour ago, the Guardian updated its continuing live coverage with the words of the Belgium Prime Minister.

Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, says terrorists have committed murder at the airport and the metro station.
“What we feared, has happened,” he said in a televised press conference.

He said it was too early to confirm casualty figures but said that there were “many dead, many injured”.

Michel confirmed that the attack at the airport was carried by a suicide bomber.

He also called for “calm and solidarity” after what he described as a “tragic moment”.

At the time of writing, 26 people are believed to have died, and well over 100 injured, some critically, in blasts that occurred at Brussels’ international airport, and 30 minutes later at the Maelbeek Metro station.

From around the world, reaction is coming in from politicians and public figures, some focusing on border controls and restrictions, while others took time to offer their condolences and to express European solidarity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury released a brief statement this morning.

In the great Holy Week of Christian prayer and mercy, the Brussels attacks shock all those who seek peace and justice through the terrible cruelty and utter separation from all that is of God. Once again we see the contrast between the vain efforts to terrify through indiscriminate murder, and the call of God to be those who show mercy, who seek peace and pursue it. Let us at every service this week pray for those caught up in the traumatic events at the airport and in the City of Brussels.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry responded via Twitter.

curry tweet


 Full text of Archdeacon Williams note:
brussels copy


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James Byron

I agree that awareness of non-Western terrorist outrages needs to be raised, but giving emphasis to a particular crime for reasons of proximity and cultural similarity isn’t necessarily racist. Terrorist violence being atypical in peaceful liberal democracy is also a factor.

Focusing on the near and familiar is just human. I wouldn’t object if, say, Nigerian media prioritized reporting the crimes of Boko Haram over the Brussels murders. Great Britain’s just over the sea from Belgium; its people are fellow Europeans; it’s (for the time being) in the same political union as the U.K. Justin Welby can be in Brussels in a few hours by rail: what happens there hits home in a way that events further afield don’t.

He’s not saying that Belgian lives matter more, or that white lives matter more. People of all ethnicities were caught up in the Brussels murders: Alphonse Youla, hailed as a hero, has featured prominently in the coverage. Welby’s simply acting in solidarity with his neighbors.

Valerie Hayes

I echo a question previously raised here. And I echo it knowing that I, too, am convicted by the question, by my own lack of compassion, attention, and prayer. Why have we not been praying for the Ivory Coast, for Pakistan, for Turkey, or Nigeria? There have been 8 previous terror attacks in March with enormous loss of life and suffering. I acknowledge that I have not turned my face toward those places of suffering with the same distress and compassion and sorrow. I acknowledge feeling overwhelmed and powerless and weary… But only when we see – truly see – all our brothers & sisters, only when we respond to ALL people, in all nations, regardless of religion or ethnicity or nationality will we be on the path that Jesus set for us. Christ have mercy.

MaryLou Scherer

Brussels is one of the most hostile cities I have been to in Europe (Vienna being the other one) and the Belgians are not precisely a welcoming people…yet I´ll say a prayer for them

Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

When nations don’t have borders what are we to expect? We know the dangers, we know the outcome and yet we act as though everything is going to be fine. It isn’t.

Ann Fontaine
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