When we give in to fear and big­otry, the ex­trem­ists win

Metro Canada (Winnipeg) - - METRO VIEWS - Michael Coren

For Metro I am cur­rently in Lon­don, Eng­land, and the rip­ples from the Paris mas­sacre are still be­ing felt in this enor­mous city. It was all the more bit­ing for me as our el­dest daugh­ter lives in Paris. Thank God she’s okay, but one of her friends was shot in the arm. Prox­im­ity and love make it all so grotesquely real.

So, how­ever, do the re­sponses; es­pe­cially when they are thought­less, re­ac­tionary and soaked in rhetoric.

The mood here is that if we are to de­feat th­ese gar­goyles of im­moral­ity, we must main­tain our cul­tural su­pe­ri­or­ity. And that cul­ture con­sists of tol­er­ance, re­li­gious plu­ral­ism, gay and women’s rights, the rule of law and the ac­cep­tance of the stranger. To com­pro­mise on this would be to al­low ISIL to win.

Yet within mo­ments of the at­tack, not only so­cial me­dia but main­stream news­pa­pers were call­ing not just for se­vere re­sponses against ISIL — which is en­tirely jus­ti­fied — but warn­ing against any­body per­ceived as a threat. Namely: Mus­lims and mi­grants.

The truth, how­ever, is that the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of Mus­lims not only de­test ISIL but are its first vic­tims. As for mi­grants, the very rea­son many of them are flee­ing is to es­cape Is­lamist bar­barism. That feel­ing is strong in Lon­don, but I’m not so sure it’s the case across the At­lantic.

As for in­creas­ing the mil­i­tary cam­paign against the terror group — and per­haps we have to do so — we should also re­mem­ber that it was the Gulf War, the western coali­tion’s in­va­sion of Sad­dam’s Iraq, that desta­bi­lized the re­gion and led to the very an­ar­chy we now see. If you doubt me, think back to the sit­u­a­tion be­fore that cam­paign took place.

So the West is hardly free of blame in all this, and to now see arm­chair war­riors writ­ing bel­li­cose col­umns is nau­se­at­ing. Ev­ery time we make a sweep­ing state­ment about Is­lam, call on bor­ders to be closed or call for mi­grants to be treated like po­ten­tial ter­ror­ists, we play into the hands of ISIL and em­power the very peo­ple we claim to op­pose.

I have writ­ten an en­tire book about the per­se­cu­tion of Chris­tians by Is­lamic ex­trem­ists, and am not some naive fool who doesn’t understand how the Mus­lim faith can be twisted. But I also know true Is­lam and true Mus­lim peo­ple.

As a sub­ma­chine-gun­car­ry­ing Bri­tish cop said to me just hours af­ter the mas­sacre, ”Th­ese bas­tards have to be stopped.” His name was Mo­ham­mad.

The West is hardly free of blame in all this, and to now see arm­chair war­riors writ­ing bel­li­cose col­umns

is nau­se­at­ing.

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