Terrorism in Russia won’t stop the Gospel

By March 31, 2010

Russia (MNN) — The bloodiest attack on Moscow in at least six years is being blamed on an Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus region. No one has claimed responsibility for it yet, but it did the job it was meant to.

Joel Griffith with Slavic Gospel Association agrees. "It certainly has, I think, rattled a lot of people within Russia." The city remained jittery on Tuesday as people began resuming their routine.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered Russia's security forces to hunt down the organizers of the metro bombings that killed 39. The response came as Moscow marked a day of mourning for Monday's double blasts.

Female suicide bombers carried out the attacks at two busy metro stations at the height of the early morning rush. Who might be behind this? There are many enemies to choose from. Griffith explains, "There's not only those that resent Russian dominance, but you also have the radical Islamic intention of it that basically wants to start an Islamic Caliphate."

Griffith says it's too early to say what impact this will have on ministry. However, "You're always going to be concerned about a backlash.”

What’s happened in Uzbekistan is a perfect example of what backlash might look like. It’s a secular government, but, he notes, the government as a rule tends to view all religions with suspicion and scrutiny.

Griffith explains, “For instance, let's say authorities decide that they have to crack down on Islamic extremists. They might well feel 'if we have to crack down on one religion, maybe we'll have to tighten up restrictions on another.'"

At present, in Russia, their teams are not seeing much of that right now. Griffith hopes that the government will probably be more discerning about how they respond to the threat posed by the Islamists.

Uncertainty can be immobilizing. Countering it requires unity. "Pray for the churches,” says Griffith, adding that there are many churches in the Caucasus Mountains. “Pray not only for their security, but also that the Lord would use this to lead to openings for the Gospel."

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