International (MNN) — Ramadan is a time to draw closer to God. For some radical Muslims, that includes violent attacks.
Three continents witnessed terrorist attacks Friday morning, June 27. It is still unknown whether they were part of an ISIS-led coordinated effort, or isolated tragedies.
In France, an assailant decapitated a man at an American-owned chemical factory and unsuccessfully attempted to blow up the building. Flags bearing Islamic inscriptions were found next to the severed head.
In Tunisia, gunmen opened fire at a beach resort, killing at least 37 people.
And, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an explosion at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait that killed and wounded at least 25 people.
These acts of terrorism follow a pair of June 25 attacks where ISIS soldiers wearing Kurdish security uniforms detonated bombs and opened fire in the Syrian-Turkey border town of Kobani. In southern Syria, rebel groups started a new operation to push government forces from the city of Dara’a.
The sudden spike in bloodshed comes days after ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani released an audio message encouraging Muslims to celebrate Ramadan as a time of increased violence against unbelievers.
“Ramadan is the month when Muslims are fasting and really thinking about spiritual things,” says Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs. “They are trying to earn the approval of Allah. One of the ways that Muslims can do that is through jihad, through fighting on Allah’s behalf, or fighting for Allah’s cause.”
So what’s next?
“It’s certainly possible that in the coming 2 or 3 weeks that we have left of Ramadan that we will see more attacks like these,” Nettleton says. “And that’s the sad reality. That’s the reason you see governments responding with increased security and increased vigilance because that risk is very real.”
Danger is increasing for everyone in Muslim-majority countries. But those who face the highest risk, especially during Ramadan, are Christians.
“We typically see unfortunately an uptick in attacks and violence during the month of Ramadan,” Nettleton says. “It’s one of the reasons we ask people here at Voice of the Martyrs to pray for Christians living in Muslim countries during this month because it’s often a time where we see an increase in attacks.”
Nettleton asks you to join VOM in prayer, asking God to protect, encourage, and embolden believers in Muslim-majority nations. But they aren’t the only ones who need help.
“Muslims are fasting and praying and seeking God. And I hope Christians will pray that they find Him, that during this month of Ramadan they encounter the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ,” Nettleton says.
Visit VOM’s website for more ways to support persecuted believers around the world.