A Prayer for Hijackers and Terrorists

Matthew 5: 43-47:  ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

How dark do things have to be in your world to plot a terrorist attack? How angry do you have to be to justify hijacking a plane and flying it into a building? How hopeless must you feel for joy in this life that you will sacrifice it in hopes for the life to come? I’ve been suicidal. I know how dark I was in those moments. I’ve never thought of taking anyone with me.

Lord, I pray for those who see no alternative but violence.

I pray for those who have been raised in ideologies of hatred.

I pray for those who have suffered under imperialism and oppression and have learned only violence.

I pray for those with legitimate grievances who turn to illegitimate solutions.

I pray for those who cease to value life.

I pray for the loved ones and families who were bombed, tortured, detained, and arrested because of their associations.

I pray for those who see the empire for what it is and choose to use the empire’s methods against it.

I pray for those “radicalized” by poverty and oppression.

I pray for those lead astray by false religion, religion that does not seek out love of God through love of neighbor.

I pray for those whose hearts have grown cold and calloused.

I pray for the Davids who go against Goliaths only to have more Goliaths appear.

I pray for those who can see no other road to justice.

Lord, in your mercy, forgive those who have chosen violence and terror as a means of making war. Forgive those who push others to the brink of hopelessness. Forgive our ending cycles of killing and hatred. Help us all to see that violence creates no winners, only survivors. May those who would give themselves up to be used as bombs, instead give their lives to be balm for the wounded of this world. May those who have heard only a message of hatred, look deeper to see that the heart of their faith is love. May the world become such that the weapons of protest and organizing become more effective than explosives, knives, and guns.

For Mohamed Atta, Abdul Aziz al Omari, Wail al Shehri, Waleed al Shehri, Satam al Suqami, Fayez Banihammad, Ahmed al Ghamdi, Hamza al Ghamdi,Marwan al Shehhi,
Mohand al Shehri, Hani Hanjour, Nawaf al Hazmi, Salem al Hazmi, Khalid al Mihdhar, Majed Moqed, Saeed al Ghamdi, Ahmad al Haznawi, Ziad Jarrah, andAhmed al Nami, all between the ages of 20-33, we ask for your mercy and forgiveness.


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