The world has witnessed what British Prime Minister Theresa May is calling “a sick and depraved terrorist attack.” CNN reports this morning that authorities have now arrested seven people in connection with the deadliest terror attack in central London in twelve years.
Just before 2:45 PM GMT yesterday, while the House of Commons was debating a proposal regarding Scottish independence, a silver Hyundai 4×4 veered from the roadway of Westminster Bridge. The narrow sidewalk where the Thames flows under the “Big Ben” clock tower was crowded with tourists and office workers. The terrorist drove into the crowd; witnesses reported that the impact threw two bodies into the Thames.
The driver then smashed into the iron railings near the base of the clock tower and got out of the vehicle carrying a large knife. He repeatedly stabbed police officer Keith Palmer, killing him. An armed policeman then shot and killed the attacker.
A woman from Spain and a man in his mid-fifties were killed. Twenty-nine people were hospitalized; seven are in critical condition. Among the injured was a group of French schoolchildren.
The attack came on the one-year anniversary of the Brussels bombings that killed thirty-two people. Police say they know the assailant but have not released information about him as of this morning. They believe, however, that he was “inspired by international terrorism.”
We can now add London to the recent list of vehicular attacks, along with Nice, France; Berlin, Germany; Ohio State University; and Jerusalem. ISIS and al Qaeda have called on their followers to use trucks and weapons to “mow down the enemies of Allah.”
Why do jihadists see tourists on a London sidewalk as their enemies?
Radical Muslims are convinced that the Qur’an requires them to defend Islam by attacking the West. Since our citizens elect our leaders, jihadists believe there are no innocent victims in our culture. In their view, each of us is an infidel worthy of death.
We should expect such attacks to continue. Even as ISIS’s so-called caliphate crumbles, the organization’s leaders are preparing for a stateless Islamic State and sending fighters into the West and beyond. ISIS has formal affiliates in nine countries and promotes its poisonous rhetoric through very sophisticated media strategies. CNN quotes one terrorism expert: “Even if ISIS loses Mosul and Raqqa, the ideology will live on.” It is virtually impossible to stop all “lone wolf” attacks. Each of us is a potential victim.
The London attack proves the brevity and uncertainty of life. That’s why “now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). We have only this day to be ready for eternity. What if it were today for you?
And the attack calls us once again to prayer. This is ultimately a spiritual battle against an enemy that seeks nothing less than the world conquest of its radical religious ideology. In this global conflict “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against . . . the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
We must fight a spiritual conflict with spiritual weapons. As Christians pray for spiritual awakening in the Islamic world, Muslims are seeing dreams and visions of Jesus in unprecedented numbers and turning to him as their Lord.
Have you prayed for jihadists to meet Jesus yet today?