I was planning to go out to the student union after finishing an essay deadline but my eye was caught on the BBC website of some breaking news: explosions heard in central Paris. I was stuck to my laptop screen for the next 4 hours, watching in disbelief as the horrors unfolded in front of my eyes, the death toll climbing higher as the night went on. This is my response.
In January, I wrote my thoughts on the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack https://hrclough.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/je-suis-charlie/ and did by best to pass the blame off Muslims and onto those fanatics who interpret Islam in a negative way and cause such pain and terror through their despicable actions. Now though I fear the situation is such that my response was not enough and bypassed the real question of the motives and intentions behind the attack, the ideology of Islam. I still hold firmly onto the fact that we must not blame migrants and refugees, or the millions upon millions of peaceful and humble Muslims who had nothing to do with the attacks on 13th November. Nor will I ask for moderate Muslims to come and speak out against these attacks because frankly that is purely an insult to their intelligence and subtly suggests that they had some part in the actions of the ISIS terrorists.
Some basic facts:
- Around 130 people were killed in various locations around Paris.
- The targets included bars, restaurants, a concert and a high-profile football match.
- ISIS has claimed responsibility.
- Mr Hollande has declared three days of national mourning.
- He raised the security threat level to its highest point and imposed a nationwide state of emergency.
- Hospital officials now put the number of injured at 300. Eighty are in a critical condition.
- These are the deadliest attacks in peacetime France, and only the fourth time since WW2 that a state of emergency has been imposed. The last time was during a 2005 wave of riots in poor suburbs.
- It is the worst atrocity in Europe since the 2004 Madrid bombings.
What action should we, as a global community take then in the wake of the attack? Whatever the response, it needs to be fairly swift before we become immune to the shock caused by attacks of this nature. Henry Jones identifies well the dangers of compassion fatigue, that if such attacks become more frequent, we will eventually not be able to feel such empathy
and shock and consequentially might feel less inclined to help and do something which I’m sure will be a very dark day. Reading over my January post, I feel more and more that my opinions have changed and it is not enough to defend moderate Muslims, Islam as a religion needs to be challenged, its ideology and doctrines that preach violence need to be countered. This will not be achieved by closing the borders and refusing migrants or refugees into Britain, it will be achieved through education and clear public knowledge, not conflated political swipes and digs yet I fear that yesterday has proved Natalie Bennett very wrong when she argued that returning fighters for ISIS should be allowed into the UK.
Yesterday’s attacks have proven the danger that certain forms of Islam poses for the west and we must repel all attempts to introduce Sharia law, criminalise homosexuality and child marriages into Europe and Britain. The West needs to band together and form a cohesive opposition to ISIS, whether it is through air strikes or attempts at diplomacy, made harder by the fact that ISIS claimed that the attacks were in response to the air strikes made against ISIS this week. In summary, I am left without answers as to the response of last night’s attack but I do know that the global community will not sit still; perhaps we are on the brink of another Iraq War.