Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Not again...

Another terrorist attack, this time in Paris, France. Way too many of my blog entries over the few years I have been "blogging" have been responding to mass shootings and acts of terrorism. How sad this is, indeed.

Why terrorism? I guess terrorism is what factions resort to which have no standing army or military resources beyond guns and bomb-making supplies. Terrorists have no bomber planes or submarines. They are usually the "vehicle" of destruction themselves. And they are cowards--legendary cowards of the world--who harm or kill others and then blow themselves up. And most of them aren't too bright. From "shoe bombers" to suicide bombers, many of them have blown themselves up prematurely or failed to detonate themselves before getting caught in the act. The victims of terrorists die several deaths: they lose their physical life; their death serves absolutely no purpose, let alone a redeeming one; and they are totally innocent, killed during innocent, everyday pursuits such as shopping, going to school, the theater, or having a restaurant meal with friends.

Again, why terrorism? Are there goals on the part of the perpetrators? One columnist recently penned that the goal of the Islamic State  (I will honor France by calling them by the name ISIS detests: Daesh) is to polarize the West against all Muslims. If the West lumps these KKK-like extremists into the broader category of "Muslim" and acts on the prejudiced assumption that Muslims are all bad, then Daesh thinks these marginalized Muslims will flee into the their arms, uniting all Muslims against the West. It is an asinine idea, but if some of our public leaders don't wise up, they could make it work for the bad guys. Most Muslims--like most Christians--are peaceful, god-fearing people. They should not be viewed through the distorted, discolored and puny lens of the Daesh. How would Christian people feel if they were viewed by the world as equated with the tactics, beliefs and hatred of the Westboro Baptist Church or the Ku Klux Klan? And while some wing nuts posting on FaceBook have complained that the Muslim community has been silent over the carnage carried out by Daesh, nothing could be further from the truth. Muslim leaders from many nations and "offices" from within Islam have condemned these acts as being in total opposition to the Koran and the faith of the Prophet Mohammed.

Remember, polarization against Muslims and the breakdown of Western religious freedom designed to exclude Muslims is exactly what Daesh may be wanting to accomplish. The best thing we could do to flummox the aims of Daesh is to grow closer to our Muslim compatriots, embracing them, seeking to understand their faith, and treating them as the loyal citizens that they are.

Defeating the "forces" of Daesh will not be easy, as has been said by our current President and his predecessors. It was actually President George W. Bush who said clearly in speeches after the September 11, 2001 attacks that the "war" against terrorism would be long, hard, and expensive. Conservative AND liberal politicians call terrorism a "cancer." If we can agree on that, can we also agree that it may only be defeated in the manner of treating a cancer? We attack cancer surgically or with precisely targeted radiation or drug therapy. When someone gets cancer, we don't just snuff out their whole life. And yet, that is what some--including a few of those aspiring to the Presidency--want to do. "If I'm President, I'll bomb the sh_t out of 'em," one said during a recent public speech witnessed by the whole world. Sure. Where? Does he know where they are? And how much collateral death will he accept in attempting to kill this "cancer"? George W. Bush was very right about what would be necessary to defeat global terrorism. We would be best served by forming broad, international coalitions--even across ideological lines--and enhancing our intelligence operations so they can better perform a "PET scan" to detect this "cancer" wherever it may be so it may be carefully and surgically removed.

And again, we should embrace our Muslim friends, here and abroad. Raising our children to respect and not hate persons from other nations and religions will sow the seeds of peace. If our kids hear us ranting about how "evil" Islam is, or how we should "just bomb the sh_t out of 'em," different seeds will be sown, and God help us if those "plants" grow and produce "fruit" in our future. America will be stigmatized by and isolated from the rest of global society. We're headed in that direction now. A great biblical word--repentance--could be the salve. To "repent" means to stop, turn, and go in the opposite direction, and for the believer, that direction is "Godward." Let us, as a society, repent of the evil we harbor in our hearts toward innocent, respectful Muslim neighbors and citizens who choose to live at peace with us. Salam and Shalom, Yinz.


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