Not to downgrade our own Prime Minister’s comments on the Paris attacks, but U.S. president Barack Obama summed up the situation best when he said it wasn’t just an attack on on Paris or on France, but on all of humanity.
That leaves us with the question, what should humanity’s response be?
The French military has already started bombing ISIS strongholds in reprisal, but there has more individual retaliation as well. Since the terrorist attacks Friday, a Peterborough, Ont. mosque was set on fire and a Muslim woman attacked on the streets of Toronto, her hijab torn off, beaten and robbed. No doubt there have been similar incidents in countries all round the globe. While the anger behind these kind of attacks only serve to bring our societies down to the level of the terrorists.
ISIS leaders and spokespeople have called for exactly this kind of action on the part of their followers, to kill disbelievers. “Especially the spiteful and filthy French or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war,” said ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani in Sept. 2014.
Surely we can rise above that kind of indiscriminate hatred. We are not suggesting that there aren’t ISIS sympathizers in Canada. If there were any innocents who believed that, the shootings last year on Parliament Hill destroyed that idea. Nor should we be treating ISIS, and its sympathizers, with loving kindness and understanding. The Paris attacks show this conflict is beyond any hope of reason or negotiation.
The world needs to come together and deal with ISIS decisively. Just as Obama said, this was an attack on humanity, humanity needs to deal with the perpetrators of this horrific act as a whole. But that doesn’t mean that all Muslims in Canada are supportive of ISIS’s goals. No race, no ethnicity, no religion can claim that all members share the same goals. Even Christian religions have their share of violent fundamentalists: the Westboro Baptist Church, for example.
But individual attacks like those in Ontario only serve to spread the hatred.