Last Friday night we watched the news with heavy hearts as we learnt Paris had been targeted and hit by the former Al-Qaeda group now known as ISIS. I personally have experienced a variety of mixed emotions, however none so great as sadness and sorrow for the victims and their loved ones who will never be the same because of these terrorist attacks. Beirut which used to be the “Paris” of the Middle East was also attacked by terrorists on November 12th, 2015, and sadly received barely any media coverage, however the attacks in Paris were larger and deadlier. I don’t want to get into the errors of media and hazard a guess as to why Paris received more air time, or who deserved more air time. The loss of innocent life regardless of location is always a tragedy. Perhaps, when we hear of a terrorist attack in the Middle East, we are almost desensitized to the news because death and civil war unfortunately is more common than in our democratic Western culture. We don’t know the hardships many face daily in other countries across seas. Maybe it is because of the distance not only in location, but our cultural differences too, how we govern, or how we survive. I don’t know, what I do know is no human life is greater nor less than another human life.
I want to talk about the hatred which both friends, family and fellow humans around the world are expressing which fills me full of fear for our future as humans sharing this place called earth. After one of the attacks, a Syrian passport was found near the bits and pieces of one of the terrorists who blew himself up. Why is Syria being targeted as she is, as little information has been shared? If you do your research, it feels like a lot has been invested in this Syrian passport; did anyone get a look at the attacker’s face? Oh wait, he blew himself up. All of this hatred directed towards Syria is not okay. Yes, it would be nice to have a proper target to blame and take them out, absolutely, but to start hating Syria, and to hear people making bold statements that Syrian refugees are a risk as they could be recruited by ISIS. Syrian refugees are trying to escape exactly what we don’t want in our countries (violence and war). Preventing refugees from coming into our countries is not a solution to the problem. ISIS is EVERY WHERE PEOPLE. They are Canadians, Americans, British (Jihadi John), French, Italian, Spanish and the list goes on.
I read something today about how there was a duplicate passport with the same exact information, but a different picture, but we just jump on the band wagon of “oh those damn refugees, they want to bring their twisted ideas and terrorist ways to our country!!!”. No! We cannot think like this. There are whole families starving and freezing to death trying to get out of their war torn countries, leaving all of their possessions behind, leaving other loved ones behind because they just want a chance to live in peace. The vast majority of Syrians want peace, just like I want peace, just like you want peace. ISIS is winning, we are reacting EXACTLY how they want us to react, full of fear and causing more carnage, destruction and most of all chaos. Bombing Syria where they believe terrorists are being harbored seems like a great idea, but in all likelihood innocent civilians are the ones who will be impacted.
Syria is an Islamic state, but many Syrians are Christians, and the Islamic faith is not the problem. It is the Radical Muslims which are the problem. I don’t know how many “radicalized Muslims” exist in Syria; I don’t care as I know they are every where.
I don’t know too much about the Islamic faith; I have Muslim friends, colleagues and I have traveled to Islamic states such as Kuwait, and I received nothing, but kindness, respect and openness with my visit. In Kuwait, I saw a culture which valued family and I saw a lot of love exchanged in these families. I was greeted with “Peace be with you” in Arabic everywhere I went. I could even say that the Kuwaitis are friendlier than my fellow Canadians.
I found this quote online earlier, and Aslan says it best:
“Islam doesn’t promote violence or peace. Islam is just a religion and like every religion in the world it depends on what you bring to it. If you’re a violent person, your Islam, your Judaism, your Christianity, your Hinduism is gonna be violent. There are marauding Buddhist monks in Myanmar slaughtering women and children. Does Buddhism promote violence? Of course not. People are violent or peaceful and that depends on their politics, their social world, the ways that they see their communities.” – Reza Aslan
I thought I might also share the definition of a refugee which I obtained from Dictionary.com:
Refugee definition, a person who flees for refuge or safety, especially to a foreign
country, as in time of political upheaval, war, etc
It is also interesting to note that media coverage is only snippets of the truth, a picture created by sound bits, images and what they want you to hear. Unfortunately, many NEWS broadcasts are working with a business/marketing agenda and sensationalism is all a part of it. NEWS shows need ratings too!
ISIS is a group of people who have bought into a lie and if there is a devil, dare I say this evil we are witnessing is diabolical. The majority of Muslims are reasonable, level headed people who want peace like we want peace, they do not condone or celebrate ISIS; they are appalled and saddened. The Islamic faith is larger than Christianity, and has been for some time. Think about that for a moment. ISIS is not representative of Syria nor any Islamic state.
I am a practicing Catholic, not that it matters, but I want to wish each and everyone of you who took the time to read this “peace”.