Baptist leaders in Lebanon and France respond to bombings

People lay flowers outside the French embassy in Moscow in memory of the victims of the November 2015 Paris attacks. (Creative Commons Photo / Stolbovsky)

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FALLS CHURCH, Va.—Baptists in Lebanon and France reacted to attacks by the Islamic State—also known as ISIS or ISIL—that occurred in their countries.

Two bombings took place Nov. 12 in Bourj el-Barajneh, a suburb of Beirut, killing more than 45 people and leaving more than 200 wounded.

syrian refugees lebanon425Syrian refugees in Lebanon, who receive help from Lebanese Baptists. (Photo: Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development)The next evening, a series of coordinated attacks—mass shootings, suicide bombings and hostage-taking—occurred in Paris and its northern suburb, Saint-Denis, killing 129 and injuring 430 people.

Nabil Costa, executive director of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development and a former vice president of the Baptist World Alliance, said Baptists in his country were “deeply saddened” by the recent attacks both in Beirut and Paris.

“As the church, our mandate remains the same regardless of the circumstances,” Costa said. “We strive to remain faithful and live Christ and reflect his practical love and such values as love your neighbor as yourself, love your enemy (and) pray for those who trespass against you. … The darker the world, the brighter should be the light of the church.”

Marc Deroeux, general secretary of the Federation of Evangelical Baptist Churches of France, said his country “wakes up in pain, grief and bereavement.” The incidents were “beyond outrage, sadness and understanding,” he said.

Deroeux encouraged French Baptists to provide practical and prayerful support to all who are in need.

“We deeply appreciate the solidarity and prayers of our brothers and sisters from the Baptist World Alliance worldwide,” added Rebecca Cuquemy, assistant secretary general of the Baptists in France.

Noting terrorism “has no nationality,” Costa called on “the global church to join us in prayer for those families who have been directly affected by the recent attacks in Lebanon and in France, but also in other countries, too, where terrorists play havoc in the lives of innocent civilians.”

The Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development has led in providing humanitarian relief—particularly winter gear, along with educational supplies and Bibles—to Syrian children and their families in refugee camps in Lebanon.

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