Dave Hartline from The American Catholic has written both an outstanding and a very informative article on Al Qaeda's war against The Catholic Church and I am passing it along to you.
From The American Catholic:
While most of the world mourns the nearly three thousand who were brutally murdered by Al Qaeda on September 11, 2001, many assume all of Al Qaeda attacks stem from a warped political motive. Most may not be aware that since the day of its inception many of Al Qaeda’s targets have involved the Catholic Church and her holy sites.
Less than one year before the September 11, 2001 attacks Al Qaeda was planning a spectacular Christmas attack at the large and historic Strasbourg Cathedral in France. While this attack was foiled, an attack on the Catholic cathedral in Jakarta, Indonesia was not thwarted, resulting in the deaths of several churchgoers and those on a nearby street.
Yet, five years before this brazen plan, an even more sinister plan was nearly carried out by the chief planner of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Khalid Sheik Muhammad, which he coordinated to coincide with the visit of Pope John Paul II to Manila for World Youth Day in January of 1995. The plan called for the pontiff to be killed along with countless of the faithful who was planning to see him in Manila that day. Incidentally, some speculate that the crowd that came to see the Polish pontiff that day was nearly the same size that came to see his funeral some ten years later. Some speculate it may have been the largest religious gathering at one place in our known history, some five to seven million strong.
Thankfully this plot was uncovered by sheer coincidence (providence for those who of us who are believers) The Manila fire department was called after apartment dwellers reported a kitchen fire, which turned out to be bomb making gone awry. Khalid Sheik Muhammad had already left Manila for the Middle East. However, it was due to evidence uncovered at the scene of the fire that security officials began to understand the emerging terror network that would be known as Al Qaeda (the base.)
Though it would be quite some time before terror officials around the world would come to understand Al Qaeda, there were faint glimpses beginning to emerge of the nefarious plans the network had in store for all those, including many Muslims, who would not fit into their ideology. Several smaller attacks others around the world, most notably in the Arabian Peninsula seemed too small or too unprofessional for terror officials to think that Al Qaeda could ever top something of the caliber of an Imad Mughniyeh plot. Mughniyeh was believed responsible for the nearly simultaneous Beirut attacks on US Marines and French paratroopers in 1983 that left hundreds dead. He was believed to live under the protection of the Syrian and Iranian governments, until his reported violent death in February, 2008. No one imagined that Al Qaeda could ever top a plot devised by Imad Mughniyeh. CONTINUED