After 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov carried out a deadly terror attack in Manhattan, leaving at least eight dead and thirteen injured, a number of faith leaders took to social media to pray for an end to “hateful ideology.”
In what became New York’s deadliest terrorist attack since Sept. 11, 2001, Saipov mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a Manhattan bike path on Tuesday. Video footage of the attack shows Saipov exiting the vehicle and brandishing a paintball gun and pellet gun while yelling “Allahu Akbar,” which translates to “God is great” in Arabic.
He was subsequently shot in the abdomen by a police officer, and currently remains in custody in the hospital.
On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) Saipov was a lone wolf who became “radicalized domestically” after coming to the United States.
“This was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference, “aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them.”
Faith leaders took to social media to condemn the terrorist attack and issue a call to prayer.
“Focus on the Family” founder Dr James Dobson said: “Every new act of terror that targets innocent lives is a tragic and terrible reminder of the evil that exists in our world. This particular attack is perhaps made even more painful by its proximity to the World Trade Center. Make no mistake, this is pure cowardice veiled in violence. True bravery belongs to the first responders and specifically the police officer credited with helping end this violence before even more were injured or killed.
“We pray for the people of New York, many of whom are likely reliving the pain of 9/11 all over again. We pray also for the families who have lost loved ones on what should have been a normal fall day like any other. Finally we pray for the end of the hateful ideology that gives birth to these senseless and barbaric acts.”
Passion City Church Louie Giglio tweeted: “All who have suffered loss in NYC are in our prayers today. Our hearts are with you.”
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic Archbishop of New York, said: “Today our city and our nation are stunned and horrified by another act of senseless violence. While details continue to emerge, one thing is clear: once again, no matter our religion, racial or ethnic background, or political beliefs, we must put our differences aside and come together in faith and love to support those who are injured, pray for those who have died as well as their families and loved ones, and work towards greater respect and understanding among all people so that heinous and evil acts like this become a thing of the past.”