The recent terrorist bombings in Paris were a shock to the Western world. Innocent people killed senselessly. There was another very devastating bombing in Beirut at about the same time, but for some reason the bombings in Paris, internationally known as the City of Light, and one of the most visited cities in the world, really struck a chord in the west. We were horrified and shocked.
The French reaction in the face of this tragedy has been amazing. First it was shock, and then enormous grief as the death toll mounted and the scale of the attacks became known. But then the French people showed enormous courage, resolve and defiance. One got the sense that there is no way in the world that the French would allow the terrorists to win. It just wasn’t acceptable.
Since the attacks there has been much anger and even hate directed at Muslims. In Canada, we have had hate crimes with a mosque in Peterborough being burned and a woman in Toronto being attacked allegedly because she was dressed in Muslim garb.
While it’s perfectly understandable for people to feel anger, it’s important to step back and think about who we should be directing this anger towards–and it’s not towards Muslims. The young men who committed these horrible crimes, who took innocent lives, who killed defenseless men, woman, and children are not religious men and are not the same as the vast majority of practicing Muslims. In fact some of the Paris terrorists had a history of criminal behavior. There’s something very wrong with these few troubled terrorists.
These men are terrorists who happen to be Muslims. In my mind, I equate the Paris bombers to the likes of Timothy McVeigh, who in 1995 blew up a government building in Oklahoma killing 168 and injuring over 600, or Anders Breivik, who in Norway in 2011 single handedly killed 77. These people are not well, there is something missing in their moral make-up. It doesn’t matter if they were Muslims or Christians – any excuse they seize upon will, in their minds, justify their actions.
Some analysts think that although ISIS took credit for the Paris bombings that these actions were not ordered by ISIS, instead inspired by them. It doesn’t matter at the end of the day–it’s the same thing. The difference between the Paris attacks and the Oklahoma and Norway attacks is that the Paris attackers were not only supported by an organization like ISIS, but they were encouraged by ISIS. And just like the World Trade Centre attacks in New York, the Paris bombings were an act and declaration of war. The West needs to respond to the killing of innocent people in Paris, Beirut, and wherever else these unacceptable acts may continue. They need to be stopped.