Minutes later, Amedy Coulibaly, 32, who murdered a policewoman on Thursday and was behind the drama at the kosher store in which four hostages were killed, was also dead, after dozens of armed officers blasted their way into the shop. It later emerged that Coulibaly – who had phoned a French television station to claim allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – had accidentally left the phone off the hook, allowing police to listen in to what was going on. They moved in when they heard him praying and decided they could catch him unawares.
So in the midst of his treachery, this morbid pantomime of a soldier pauses to pray — and by this prayer some considerable number of Jews are preserved from lethal harm.
We know from earlier attacks, like the razzia that shattered Mumbai in 2008, that Jews are specially selected for gruesome torments. We can suppose that this Jihadist, too, was preparing himself spiritually for the defilement and torture of these French Jews who likely never sketched a cartoon or said a word against any prophet. We can also speak definitively about the wickedness of a doctrine that induces a man to pray to God before he undertakes torments upon the innocent and unarmed.
There is much that is admirable and just in the prayers of even pagan men, as they gird themselves for the field of battle. We may hope than even some fierce and hardy pagan men are not untouched by repentance, by a sincere desire to have hatred taken from their heart, that dutiful service might remain unvarnished, when faced with the approach of the blood and iron of battle. Nor has battle between Christians been altogether uncommon. “If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?”
To pray before battle is entirely human. But what happened this week in Paris was only a battle in the deranged minds of the sons of Jihad.
The morbid charade of soldiering that these Jihadists undertake has its exemplar in this man who, in the midst of visiting treasonous butchery upon the innocent, exposes himself to defeat when he kneels to pray. It is a fitting end for Monsieur Coulibaly.