Attacks on houses of worship occurred at an alarming and deadly rate around the world in 2019, according to the Tribune Review.
Hundreds of worshippers and many clergy were killed at churches, mosques, synagogues and temples – some of the crimes unsolved – leaving people of faith with reason for apprehension as they gather for worship.
"No one should have to fear going to their place of worship," Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., said. "No one should be targeted for practicing the tenets of their faith."
In one of the most recent attacks, a band of assailants opened fire on worshippers Dec. 1 at a small-town Protestant church in Burkina Faso, an impoverished West African country where the Christian minority is increasingly a target. The victims included the pastor and several teenage boys; regional authorities attributed the attack to "unidentified armed men" who, according to witnesses, got away on motorcycles.
Among the attacks in 2019:
- A group of separatist insurgents attacked a Buddhist temple in Thailand last January, killing the abbot and one of his fellow monks.
- Two suicide attackers detonated bombs during a Philippines mass in a Roman Catholic cathedral on the largely Muslim island of Jolo, killing 23 and wounding about 100 last January.
- Three days later, an attacker hurled a grenade into a mosque in a nearby Philippines city, killing two Muslim religion teachers.
- A gunman allegedly fueled by anti-Muslim hatred attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 people March 15. The man arrested for the killings had earlier published a manifesto espousing a white supremacist philosophy and detailing his plans to attack the mosques.
- Bombs shattered the celebratory Easter Sunday (April 21) services at two Catholic churches and a Protestant church in Sri Lanka, killing around 260.
- A gunman opened fire inside a synagogue in Poway, California, as worshippers celebrated the last day of Passover (April 27), killing four.
- An armed assailant tried to blast his way into a synagogue in Halle, Germany, where scores of worshippers were attending October services on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, killing two.
- More than 60 people were killed in a bombing during Friday prayers at a mosque in the village of Jodari in eastern Afghanistan.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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