Attacker wants to display ISIS flag in hospital

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The man charged in the terror attack in Manhattan wants to display an ISIS flag in his hospital room. He picked Halloween for his target date in the belief that more people would be on the street.

These are some of the details emerging as the investigation into this horrific tragedy continues. How should we respond to the deadliest terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11? Let’s understand why terrorists are rejoicing today, then examine a secular response and a Christian point of view.

Why jihadists are rejoicing

According to Newsweek, ISIS-linked social media accounts “lit up” after the attack in Manhattan. “Trick-or-tweet New York City,” wrote one ISIS supporter, adding a happy face image. “Allahu Akbar,” wrote another.

Why would anyone rejoice in the deaths of eight innocent people?

ISIS encourages its followers to kill an “infidel” in any way possible: “Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”

So far, ISIS supporters have perpetrated 143 attacks in 29 countries, killing 2,043 people. Tuesday’s attack is just the latest in a long line of atrocities. We can expect such attacks to continue: as ISIS loses its geographical caliphate in the Middle East, it seeks to demonstrate its credibility and relevance by encouraging terrorism around the world.

These jihadists are motivated by two beliefs.

First, they claim that the West has been attacking the Muslim world since the Crusades and especially by supporting Israel. Since the Qur’an requires Muslims to defend Islam (Sura 2:190), they believe that they are defending their faith when they attack us.

Second, they claim that there are no innocent civilians in the West. Since our countries are democracies in which we elect our leaders and support our military, jihadist groups see our citizens as complicit in a perceived attack on Islam. They view us as we would…

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