Anyone with any degree of normalcy and decency is of course horrified for the victims and families of the victims of today’s terrorist attack in Paris. That being said, if people continue to deny the realities of the situation, what happened today will become increasingly more commonplace.
What we are witnessing is an attack on global freedom. Working in a satirical magazine’s office should not be a dangerous job. However, forces within the Muslim world are choosing to make it one, and to deny that fact is tantamount to folding up the tent and running away. As a Jew, and specifically as an American Jew, whether I speak up or remain silent I am ultimately in some danger anyway. But for a citizen of France or any other western country who is not Jewish, their life is now clearly threatened by what they say or do in the name of freedom. Most importantly, this may have happened in Paris, but it was an attack on anyone on the planet who dares to make statements offensive to Muslims.
Earlier today I heard someone on CNN make the comment, and I paraphrase, “Muslims find killing innocent people abhorrent”. I found it to be an interesting statement and predictably unchallenged on CNN. Let’s assume his comment to be true. The problem with the statement is, what do radical Muslims consider innocent? Is someone who commits blasphemy against Islam innocent in their eyes? If not, this commentators comments indirectly and possibly unintentionally justify today’s attack. The other problem with this statement is very simply put, it is too little too late.
The comparisons between Nazi Germany and radical Muslim are becoming more and more prevalent. For the most part this is due to the behaviors of those most vicious. Sadly there needs to be one more comparison made. Until Germany was not only defeated, but crushed, we did not have the luxury of distinguishing between good Germans and bad ones. The only distinction was between those Germans fighting against the Nazis and those either staying neutral or participating in their activities. If Muslims want to avoid Islamophobia and ultimately global catastrophe, they need to stand up against the evil within their midst. It is no longer enough to assume that we know you don’t support murder. You need to fight it with the rest of us. If you do not, there will come a time when you will be victims of the same evil, albeit from the source or from those reacting to the source.
This is of course a much more complicated battle to fight than the battle against Nazi Germany. After all, that evil was centralized in one country, while this evil has tentacles reaching all over the world. But it must be fought, because ultimately it looks to encompass all those who cherish freedom and tolerance and subsequently may be the greatest global danger we’ve ever seen. I am certain it has already made many fearful of expressing their views, something that can only be seen as a victory for the enemy.
I know this attack was reportedly committed by only 3 men, but make no mistake, culpability falls on a large percentage of the Muslim world, for it is now no longer enough to meekly say you don’t like it once it has already happened. The burden now falls on those claiming to cherish peace, to demand and fight for peace. Otherwise those words are hollow shells that do nothing to improve the situation. Otherwise how do we even know you truly want a peaceful and tolerant world?
Peace, freedom and tolerance have no religion or passport. Those who truly want it, want it for everyone and will stand up to their own in order to make it happen. We no longer have the luxury of assuming those who claim to want this freedom actually do if they do nothing to help make it happen. Just as we couldn’t hope the quiet Germans didn’t support Adolph Hitler. Had we assumed otherwise, freedom would have been destroyed many years ago. Let’s not allow it to be destroyed today.
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