Thoughts on Paris

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November 13, 2015. The world is shocked as Paris is hit with a devastating series of terrorist attacks. ISIL, notorious Islamic extremist terror group, claimed responsibility for the attacks. The western world responded with solidarity – national monuments in places like Canada and the United States lit up in red, white, and blue.

American President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and British Prime Minister David Cameron were among world leaders to speak to this tragedy. Social media quickly took hold, with hashtag #PrayforParis trending worldwide on Twitter, Snapchat filters appearing in stories, and Facebook profile photos rapidly being shaded with the French flag.

Events like these make us think more clearly about the world. 129 people were killed. 433 people were admitted to hospital with injuries. The lives of thousands of people irreparably changed. Reactions to the tragedy have varied; anger, fear, sadness – all valid, all real, and all expressions of humanity. There isn’t a strong enough word for how important it is that we as a global community stand united with Paris, and against terrorism.

There is also isn’t a good enough word to describe how frustrating some people are behaving in the wake of the attacks. Islamophobia is an anti-Muslim sentiment, a prejudice against those faithful to Islam, that permeates western society.

Many North Americans and Europeans are quick to associate Islam with terrorism, causing fear and hatred of Muslim people. This makes me angry. More Muslim people are killed by ISIL than any other group. Muslim refugees are trying to leave places like Syria, their home, because of the terror and war that exists caused by violent extremism.

I saw many, many people blaming Muslim refugees in Paris for the attacks. I can’t comprehend why those people don’t realize that the reason there are so many Muslim refugees in Europe and North America is because they are trying to escape the terror and violence that happened in Paris once, and in their home countries everyday. Two suicide bombings occurred in Beirut, Lebanon the day before. The world was silent.

I’m not an expert in politics or history or terrorism, but I know without a doubt that terrorism has no religion. Religion only becomes violent in the hands of violent people. To suggest that the actions of a small group of violent terrorists should speak for the actions and beliefs of millions of peaceful people is ignorant and naive. To assume that violent and extremist religiously motivated groups have only come from Islam is even more so.

My thoughts on Paris are this: I am devastated for Parisians who suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of terrorism. I am scared for Muslim people all over the world who will suffer and continue to suffer from the ramifications of a small number of violent extremists. I am angry that the world is filled with hate and ignorance. I am uplifted by the amount of support shown for those who are suffering and I am hopeful for a future in which the actions of a few no longer speak for the many.

Comme je prie pour Paris, je me souviens que le terrorisme n’a pas de religion.

#PrayforParis

#PrayfortheWorld

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