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Only by changing their murderous mindset will we end the slaughter

By Alf McCreary

It is virtually impossible to find words to reflect adequately on the savagery of the bombing in Manchester this week which killed 22 people and injured 59 others. Since then there have been outpourings of grief and condemnation, which have featured in the saturation media coverage.

The Prime Minister and Church leaders have also struggled to find words to describe their personal feelings, and those they represent.

In Belfast Michelle O'Neill signed a Book of Condolences as the northern leader of Sinn Fein, and also condemned the bombing.

Perhaps she was unaware, or deliberately overlooked, the fact that her party was the political wing of the Provisional IRA which bombed some English towns and cities, including Manchester, to bits.

The Provisionals' use of the car bomb and their ingenious and unscrupulous bombing devices also led the way in providing copies for other terrorists to follow.

It is no wonder that the cynical and hypocritical re-writing of history by Sinn Fein, claiming that they have the moral high ground, is sticking in the throats of all fair-minded people.

Perhaps it is only people like me of a certain age can remember vividly the sheer wickedness of the Provisional IRA campaign, and the suffering it caused to so many innocent people.

The Shinners' hypocrisy knows no bounds.

The Manchester bombing brings back to us the nightmares which we went through in Northern Ireland, and we can only watch in sorrow and pray for the victims and their families.

In the post-Manchester bombing desolation, the one unanswered question is this - what causes any human being to explode a bomb which he knows will kill and maim people around him, including children and young people?

Some people glibly blame this on religion, but that is too facile an analysis. It is certainly caused by a bad and warped idea of religion.

Earlier this week President Donald Trump focused on this subject when he addressed a major gathering of Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia.

He suggested that the highly dangerous Middle East strife was not due to differences in religion, but that ISIS and their cohorts were example of sheer criminality. The President went on to say that this is a war between good and evil, and that the Arab states need to clean up the mess in their own countries and not expect America to solve their problems.

For once, the outspoken Trump was right, compared to the intellectual political correctness and hand-wringing of Barack Obama and other Western leaders.

Trump was also right to talk about a war between "good and evil". Western liberals, agnostics, atheists and their fellow travellers sneer at such a basic Biblical connotation, but they are wrong about so many things, as they sit in their own elitist bubbles.

There is no other word but "'evil" to describe the actions of the Manchester bomber and those who supported him, and the history of ISIS has been one long evil record of barbarity, murder, rape, extortion, cruelty and sickening self-justification.

The one subject which President Trump failed to consider enough is the toxic topic of 'bad religion'.

Tragically the majority of those evil militant Islamists who bring murder and mayhem to the West, as well as to their own societies, are claiming, wrongly, the religious backing of The Koran.

What has been missing in our society for decades is a sufficient effort by Islamic teachers and law-abiding Muslims to change the thuggery and murder to try to batter us into oblivion.

That is one of the ugly lessons of the Manchester bombing and of other ISIS-linked atrocities. It has taken many decades to change the mindsets of our own thugs and terrorists on both sides.

We are in the middle of a terrifying war of ideas between militant Islam and the West, and this war, and its physical atrocities, are not going to end any time soon.

Reverend has a blonde moment

What on earth inspired Fermanagh Church of Ireland minister the Reverend Mark Watson to try and make a 'joke' about the O'Neill-Foster blonde hair spat?

He then told people in Enniskillen Orange Hall that he hoped "there were no Press about".

He will not lose his job, but he should have learned a lesson.

I am continually amazed by the range of people who are surprised to find their remarks splashed over the media.

In this electronic age, the first rule should be to learn to keep your trap shut.

Picture worth 1,000 words for pontiff

A riveting picture this week was that of the meeting between Pope Francis and the Trump family in Rome.

The Trump ladies were as glamourous as ever and the The Donald was beaming, but the Pope seemed to struggle to raise a smile.

His profound differences with Trump on immigration, climate change and other matters are well-known, but duty comes first. Endearingly the Pope shows it all on his face.

Could the Pope visit Northern Ireland?

Another important meeting in Rome this week was that between the Pope and the Irish President.

There were strong indications that the Pope will visit Northern Ireland next year.

A Papal visit has been anticipated even from the early Pontificate of Benedict XVI, but I wonder what Ireland will be like in the Brexit uncertainty next year, and more important, what the elderly Pope Francis will seem like to us?

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