Dec 14, 2019

Global gun violence targets worshippers of all faiths

The Al -Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand on Sept. 13. Photo: Tessa Burrows/Getty Images

Hundreds of clergy and worshippers of various faiths were killed at temples, synagogues, churches and mosques around the world this year, AP reports.

The big picture: The Christchurch mosque attacker killed 51 people and the event led to international calls to action against online extremism and terrorism fueled by white supremacist ideology. But other attacks gained sparse international attention, like a deadly Dec. 1 shooting at a Protestant church in the West African country Burkina Faso.

  • In January in the Philippines, two suicide bombers killed 23 people and wounded about 100 during Mass in a Roman Catholic cathedral on a predominately Muslim island, per AP.
  • More than 100 people at Catholic churches and a Protestant church were killed on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka by local militants, AP reports.
  • A shooter who targeted a California synagogue soon after Easter told a 911 dispatcher that "he had just shot up a synagogue to save white people from Jews," per AP.
  • In October, more than 60 people were killed during Friday prayers when a village mosque in eastern Afghanistan was bombed, AP reports. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • A shooter tried and failed to break into a synagogue in Halle, Germany during Yom Kippur services in October, per AP. When the gunman was unable to get inside the packed service, he shot people in nearby streets, killing two and injuring two others.

Flashback: Last year, a lethal shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh likely marked the deadliest attack on Jewish people in the U.S., according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Go deeper: What the deadliest mass shootings have in common

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Texas church security volunteer who shot gunman was trained reserve deputy

An FBI agent at West Freeway Church of Christ after a shooting during services on Sunday. Photo: Stewart F. House/Getty Images

The Texas church security volunteer who killed a gunman after he opened fire during a Sunday morning service was identified on Monday as Jack Wilson, a trained reserve deputy, per CNN.

What they're saying: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that Wilson "had significant training, had his own shooting range, had taught other people how to shoot, had taught many people in this church how to be prepared" and "ultimately saved the lives of maybe hundreds of people" with his actions.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 30, 2019

Pittsburgh synagogue shooter appealing death sentence

Photo: Justin Merriman/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Lawyers for Robert Bowers are challenging his potential death sentence as unconstitutional as he waits for a trial date, AP reports.

Context: Bowers is charged with killing 11 people and injuring 6 others at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018. His lawyers argue the death sentence violates the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause and the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, AP writes.

Go deeper: Pittsburgh passes gun restrictions following Tree of Life Synagogue shooting

Keep ReadingArrowDec 28, 2019

AP: Communities of color vulnerable to abuse from the Catholic Church

A cardinal at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, in 2018. Photo: Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Out of 178 dioceses contacted by the AP, only a handful knew the race or ethnicities of accusers of sexual abuse inflicted by clergy with the Catholic Church.

Why it matters: A leading scholar on clergy sexual abuse says communities of color "are less likely to know where to get help, less likely to have money for a lawyer to purse that help and they are more vulnerable to counterattacks" when coming forward against predators.

Go deeperArrowJan 4, 2020