La Belle Equipe: 19 dead by shooting;
Le Carillon Bar & Le Petit Cambodge Restaurant: 12 dead by guns;
La Casa Nostra Restaurant: 5 dead by gunfire;
Stade de France, where 80,000 gathered to watch France v. Germany: explosion outside, 3 attackers dead;
Batacian Concert Hall: several gunmen killed 80 dead.
Death toll so far: 127 dead.
The Islamic State has claimed credit for these attacks which are in retaliation of France’s participation in the Allied bombing of IS positions in Syria. Initial assessments say that these are jihadis who have returned back to France after training under IS’s auspices in Syria/Iraq. One attacker supposedly came in the ‘refugee rush’ to Europe only last month.
It will take time to piece together the complete story, but here are some things we can say for sure:
1. State of War: It should become obvious that the western world, like the Muslim world, is in a state of war. The intra-Muslim world war that has been raging for years now from Nigeria to Pakistan can have a spillover effect into the non-Muslim world, like in Paris. To say that jihad will only be Sunni v. Shia, contained exclusively in the Middle East, or have Israel as the sole target, is not being realistic. Likewise, living in denial that there is even a war can be dangerous.
2. Successful response: In order to respond appropriately, it is important not to overreact or persecute innocent people. Get the facts, assess the risk, and then follow-through. In this case, it is important to monitor immigration (a wise thing in any situation), work with the local Muslim community, teach the population vigilant observation. Remember the 3 American heroes who recently took down a jihadi on a European train before he went on a murderous shooting rampage? Grassroots local participation is always a good idea. Beefed up security services are a must, too.
3. Spiritual warfare: For those of us who have a Biblical worldview, we know that this war is not strictly a human-affair; it involves and is directed by invisible spiritual forces (read Ephesians 6:10-18). The practice of spiritual warfare can do wonders to limit or prevent terrorist acts.
As France buries its dead, this is surely a tragedy for us all. If we can learn the lessons and apply vigilance, then those victims will not have died in vain.