The bombings in London force us to look evil in the face once again. While some observers and commentators wonder aloud how human beings could do this to each other, Christians must affirm what we already know — that great evil lurks in the heart of humanity. When that evil is set loose, unconstrained by conscience, law, or social sanction, the monstrous reality of human evil bares its teeth once again. The mounting casualty and death toll in London is but the latest face of the evil we have now come to know in the form of mass terror.
We must pray for the people of Britain, for the injured and the mourning, and for a world growing both old and weary with each attack.
The major media have been covering this story all day and will continue coverage in days to come. Comments ranging from the insightful to the insipid have filled the airwaves. For one interesting and informed response, consider Thomas L. Friedman’s column published in today’s edition of The New York Times. Friedman gets right to what he sees as the great challenge ahead:
So this is a critical moment. We must do all we can to limit the civilizational fallout from this bombing. But this is not going to be easy. Why? Because unlike after 9/11, there is no obvious, easy target to retaliate against for bombings like those in London. There are no obvious terrorist headquarters and training camps in Afghanistan that we can hit with cruise missiles. The Al Qaeda threat has metastasized and become franchised. It is no longer vertical, something that we can punch in the face. It is now horizontal, flat and widely distributed, operating through the Internet and tiny cells.
Because there is no obvious target to retaliate against, and because there are not enough police to police every opening in an open society, either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists – if it turns out that they are behind the London bombings – or the West is going to do it for them. And the West will do it in a rough, crude way – by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent.
And because I think that would be a disaster, it is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer, within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere. Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult. It takes a village.