Toronto Star

Humanity must start to act as one

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“We can no longer afford to divide the world by artificial distinctio­ns of East vs. West, or by race, religion, or any other superficia­l difference. We are one humanity living on one planet.” DR. RICKEY MILLER THORNHILL Send email to lettertoed@thestar.ca; via Web at www.thestar.ca/ letters. Include full name, address, phone numbers of sender; only name and city will be published. Letter writers should disclose any personal interest they have in the subject matter. We reserve the right to edit letters, which run 50-150 words.

As a former MP (1993-2011), I believe the worst course of action the West can take in response to ISIS’s murderous attacks in Paris is to enact reactionar­y, discrimina­tory policies against Muslim communitie­s. Instigatin­g such a reaction is ISIS’s goal for they hope it will drive disaffecte­d people to their cause and create the calamitous inter-religious conflict they seek.

The best course of action is for us to work with Muslim communitie­s, many of which already live in fear, to identify potential security risks and communicat­e a strong counternar­rative against ISIS’s destructiv­e propaganda.

We must also be vigilant and enforce our laws if hate crimes are exacted against these vulnerable communitie­s. It is also vitally important for the world, especially predominan­tly Muslim nations, to address the exclusion and abuse against Sunnis that precipitat­ed ISIS’s rise.

The vast majority of ISIS’s victims are Muslims, including many murdered in Paris. Working together, across religions, in common purpose, in support of inclusion, tolerance and peace is a powerful bulwark against violent extremism. Dr. Keith Martin, executive director, Consortium of Universiti­es for Global Health, Washington, D.C. We are all grieving the horrific loss of life in France. We lit up our CN Tower with the colours of the French flag. We say that we stand with France and pray for the families of the victims and for those who are fighting for their lives in hospitals.

But where are the colours of the Lebanese and Russian flags shining just as defiantly? Have we prayed in our hearts and publicly as a nation for the families of the 43 Lebanese murdered and 239 wounded a day before the attacks in Paris? Or for the families of the 224 Russians murdered on the airplane on Oct. 31? These crimes against humanity merit the same grief and call to action.

We can no longer afford to divide the world by artificial distinctio­ns of East vs. West, or by race, religion, or any other superficia­l difference. We are one humanity living on one planet and we must cry out and take effective action against the murderers of all innocents.

We are France, Lebanon, Russia, and all other nations in which terrorists murder our brothers and sisters. It’s not enough to say we live in a global community and that we are all affected by violence in the world. We need to live this truth. Dr. Rickey Miller, Thornhill France has declared war on ISIS and bombed Raqqa. Many people in Canada are urging the new government to continue participat­ing in the bombings. These massive military attacks are more about vengeance and fear than about stopping ISIS.

Raqua is the city with over 200,000 residents. Bombing this city is like bombing London or Dresden. It is likely that the local population will cling to ISIS is their defender against the Western bombers. This strengthen­s ISIS.

A more effective strategy would be to stop the money going to ISIS. The money comes predominat­ely from oil sales and donations Gulf supporters. ISIS needs millions of dollars per day to function. Focusing on stopping ISIS’s funding will cripple them and make it less attractive to new recruits who are given housing and support when they arrive.

If Canada and the G20, focused on the financing they could lay siege to ISIS. There is a greater chance that a population under siege will turn against their leaders and open gates than that civilians will embrace their bombers. Sarah Shartal, Toronto The U.S. has 1.4 million active soldiers. The U.K. has 160,000; Germany 180,000; Egypt 438,000, France 180,000 and Canada has 92,000. If the armies of the G20 countries contribute­d 10 per cent of their manpower they could wipe out ISIS in one day. It’s that simple. We need to rid the world of this cancer. Leon Elmaleh, Toronto It is well known that rich religious ideologues in the Gulf states, with direct or indirect blessings from their respective government­s, provide sustenance to groups like ISIS and pull their strings. However, the Western states have shied away from confrontin­g them because they are also sources of big business for the West. It is about time to stop tiptoeing around these issues. All major Western states should join together, set aside business considerat­ions and hold these rogue states accountabl­e for their actions with the harshest possible measures. Adarsh Lakhanpal, Oakville Re PM needs to explain stance on airstrikes, Nov. 19 Surely Rosie DiManno can see the difference between bombing, and helping to train and equip the local security forces? The former, however accurate, inevitably means we kill and maim innocents, which in turn manufactur­es more terrorists.

By training and equipping the native military we help the local people to fight their own war against the toxic elements in their own society. The knee-jerk response to this is “and how well did that work in Iraq?” But the training goes both ways. Listening to local military expertise, to what they need, rather than what we think they need, might achieve better success than dictating how to fight in a completely foreign environmen­t. Jane Hunter, Toronto The suicidal morons who went on a rampage in Paris didn’t just attack France; they were sending a deadly threat to do likewise to all democratic countries.

Justin Trudeau is naive indeed if he thinks sending a few military trainers is going to make any difference to the evil aims of the Islamic State, which even targets its fellow Muslims who disagree with their lunatic agenda. The least Trudeau can do is beef up our military, especially the army, to match Australia’s.

And it’s no use saying we can’t afford to, because, the fact is, we can’t afford not to. Canada has to be ready, willing and able to join our NATO allies, and even Russia and Egypt, in an all-out war against the fanatics who threaten us all. William Bedford, Newmarket Is it fair that nations affected by the conflicts should have to put their military personnel at risk fighting ISIS while the millions of war refugees watch from the sidelines? Isn’t it the responsibi­lity of citizens to fight for their country?

Imagine if all of the able-bodied refugees, both men and women, were mobilized against ISIS. Perhaps they should be given incentives to return and fight and to discourage fleeing. Canada could train them, since this seems to be the role that Trudeau prefers to play. David Pankhurst, Toronto France and Russia have declared war against ISIS. But they must carry out a joint action against the Islamist thugs. During the Second World War, the U.S., Britain and the Soviet Union allied against Nazi Germany. Similarly, France, the U.S. and Russia should form a coalition to defeat the Nazis of our time. Mahmood Elahi, Ottawa Your editorial position that 60 per cent of the country voted for parties that promised to cut back Canada’s participat­ion in the war against ISIS is a stretch at best. Polls have consistent­ly shown strong support for our contributi­on to that effort.

Your paper has long lamented the erosion of Canada’s reputation on the world stage under the Tory regime. Pulling back from our friends and allies and leaving the heavy lifting to others at this point will do far more lasting harm than anything Stephen Harper managed. This is Mr. Trudeau’s opportunit­y to show that he is indeed ready to lead. J.C. Henry, Mississaug­a I’m tired of hearing about the call to “pray for France and the people of Paris.” Radical Islam will claim that, in fact, God “ordered” the attacks. Those who claim that religion had “nothing to do” with yet another attack on innocents are naive. It had everything to do with it. Just as it has everything to do with most of the conflict for most of human history.

A little less religion and a more common civility would make more of a difference than another empty, unanswered prayer. Rob Cowan, Toronto I expect and encourage our new government to proceed with replacing bombing with military training and bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada. If, for logistical or security reasons, either one or both of these require additional time, so be it.

I also expect opposition MPs to begin offering intelligen­t, constructi­ve criticism, rather than adopting a naysaying approach to everything as if stuck in election campaign mode. James Phelps, Lindsay, Ont. If Justin Trudeau won’t continue the deployment of our CF18s in this time of “clear and present danger” to our allies, and soon enough ourselves, there should be no further debate about the acquisitio­n of sophistica­ted and expensive (estimated at up to $126 billion) first strike F35s. If we won’t use the CF18s to defend our allies, why would need F35s? Mike McLean, Oakville I understand that the optics of backing off a campaign pledge so early is not a good way to start your term in office. However, Justin Trudeau can still hold true to his pledge and do the right thing by extending out his bold timeline so that these Syrian immigrants can be properly vetted through the right security channels. However most unlikely, if even just one were to be involved in a terrorist activity in future, it would likely irreparabl­y and forever define Trudeau’s Liberal government. Andrew Shapiro, Richmond Hill What a wonderful world it would be if only we had no enemies to love! Maurice Newell, Elliot Lake, Ont.

 ?? CHARLES PLATIAU/REUTERS ?? Christmas decoration­s hang from trees along Paris’s Champs Elysees on Thursday, with the Arc de Triomphe in background.
CHARLES PLATIAU/REUTERS Christmas decoration­s hang from trees along Paris’s Champs Elysees on Thursday, with the Arc de Triomphe in background.

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