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Pete Grieg affirms role of prayer in aftermath of terror attacks, amid broadcaster's criticism

Sat 25 Mar 2017
By Alex Williams

Author and pastor Pete Grieg has defended a campaign on social media encouraging people to pray in the wake of Wednesday's Westminster terror attack, after a radio broadcaster branded it "stupid".

Posting on Twitter soon after the attack by the Houses of Parliament - which left four innocent people dead - Talk Radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer said: "Can everyone stop all this #Pray4London nonsense?

"It's these bl**dy beliefs that help create this violence in the first place."

The tweet prompted more than 1,000 responses.

 

Pete Grieg, who founded the 24-7 Prayer movement, responded: "I'm not quite sure how a belief in Jesus helped create Wednesday's tragedy."

In a statement posted online, he dismissed any suggestion prayer contributes to terrorism or that praying is irrelevant, adding: "In the UK today most people pray. Especially and understandably at times of personal or national tragedy.

 

“One government survey discovered that even amongst those who describe themselves as 'non-religious', 25 per cent admit to praying at least once per month.

"We see this deep prayerfulness expressed in those DIY roadside shrines, in swelling congregations at times of collective trauma, and, yes, in hashtags too."

 

In a series of tweets where she also described God as an "imaginary guy in the sky", Hartley-Brewer went on to say: "For the hard of understanding, I don't equate all religions with Islamic terrorism.

"I'm saying prayers don't solve anything. Anywhere. Ever."

She went on to joke, suggesting that Twitter users pray for the chocolate finger to win the World Cup of Biscuits, which has been raising money for Red Nose Day.

Referring to the idea prayer is part of the problem of terrorism, Pete Grieg said: "...perhaps Ms Hartley-Brewer is just meaning to say that religions in general fuel hatred and that the world would be so much more tolerant and peaceful if we would all just stop praying (cue John Lennon’s Imagine).

 

“It’s true that most massacres are ideologically motivated and for some – such as Khalid Masood, who carried out Wednesday’s attack – those ‘ideals’ do indeed appear to be religious.

“But for many …horrific aggression on a vast scale was motivated not by a religious paradigm, but by atheistic ideology.

“Ideas really matter, and ours are beautiful; rooted in ‘the Prince of Peace’, ‘the Comforter’, the ‘Healer’ who commands us to love and forgive our enemies.”

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