I was truly saddened by the happenings in Mumbai this past weekend. What I was most struck by was that these men came to South Mumbai, a posh, tourist destination with upscale hotels and restaurants, and that although they were at one point asking for Americans and Britons, and they did attack the Jewish center, for the most part, they were firing indiscriminately and killing whoever was present. This indicates to me that more than religious, ethnic, or political reasons, these men were motivated by class distinctions. It was a matter of class warfare. In fact, I believe most of the tensions in today's world boil down to class - not race, ethnicity, religion or nationalism.
My brother Chris said in a talk recently that, "to retain a remission of our sins we must be generous with the poor and needy after we have kept the commandments." (see Mosiah 4:26) He was speaking of fast offerings, which is one way in which we help the poor in our midst, but it can be broader than that as well. Until we learn to do that - take care of the poor in our midst - we will always have contention and dissatisfaction. It is a terrible commentary on our world that people can be trained and taught to do something like this - and then actually choose to do it. I do think they are trained by ideologues, but many come to be susceptible to these wild ideologies because of their lack of socio-economic and educational resources. This is where we need to focus our efforts. And we do - through missionary work. Take the ghetto out of the people, as Pres. Benson said. The gospel first and then education, supported by the PEF, soon after.
I think it significant that Pres. Monson said this in General Conference in Oct 2008, "There remain...areas of the world where our influence is limited and where we are not allowed to share the gospel freely. As did President Spencer W. Kimball over 32 years ago, I urge you to pray for the opening of those areas, that we might share with them the joy of the gospel. As we prayed then in response to President Kimball’s pleadings, we saw miracles unfold as country after country, formerly closed to the Church, was opened. Such will transpire again as we pray with faith." I somehow missed that on the first go around, but I got it the second time I listened, and our family has been praying sincerely as Pres. Monson asked. I think these are the most important things that we can do in reaction to what happened in Mumbai - taking care of the poor and needy in our midst, and missionary work.