New Terror Wave

We are not strangers to domestic violence

1/26/2015, 8 a.m.
New Terror Wave
Hace falta en este momento un liderazgo valiente desde dentro del Islam para rechazar la violencia. What is needed at this point is courageous leadership from within Islam to reject the violence. |

After the terrorist attacks in Paris we are feeling the same sense of insecurity that we experienced in the days following 9/11. In 2001 we were innocently thinking that terrorism of the sort that had hit Europe would not cross the Atlantic, would not hit here at home. We had suffered from domestic terrorism, but the Al Qaeda attacks were different. And like it happened then, the Paris attacks will have repercussions for all of us, not just the French, not just the Europeans.

The new wave of terror as a result of ISIS and Al Qaeda is different, more unpredictable and more difficult to control because the enemy could be right here at home. The enemy holds extremist views and commits random acts of violence driven by passions we find puzzling and threatening.

We are not strangers to domestic violence. In 1993 there was a standoff at Waco, Texas, that ended up with 76 people dead. In 1995, two American citizens, who were targeting the IRS, bombed the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. Before all that we had lost a president and his brother and Martin Luther King paid a price for his dream. And yet, that was a different kind of violence, isolated and not directed to all of us, not based on misinterpretation of the Koran, or the Bible, or any kind of religious dogma. It cannot be said that the new wave of terror is politically inspired because the perpetrators don’t respect the rules of government or society.

Terrorist movements like ISIS, Al Qaeda and others, have changed the rules of conflict. The PLO Munich attacks were carried out as an act of revenge. The terrorists of today are not just dissenting from our ideas, they are opposed to Western culture, capitalism and all that it implies. Our freedom to vote, to speak and publish, our political system, our customs, the way women have progressed, threaten their way of life. They would prefer not to allow certain freedoms.

Boko Haran, one of the most irrational and violent groups, kidnapped hundreds of young girls and they want to impede their education and they are threatening to sell them. The offenses against Islam are a mere excuse to launch attacks on a culture that contradicts their values and ancient rules. It is a lot easier to destroy than to create.

Violent preachers inspired the Paris terrorists. Three of them carried out a massacre at Charlie Hebdo, a magazine that publishes cartoons. One of them confessed on tape to being a follower of ISIS and Al Qaeda apparently helped to train the others. There was a woman connected to the case but she fled to Syria. And there is reliable intelligence that many women have joined ISIS, which if true, defies all logic. If the terrorists intended to silence the publication their action backfired on them. The magazine is publishing 3 million copies instead of the 150 thousand copies they were publishing before the massacre. And Muhammad is on the cover with the words: “All is forgiven.”

This is an important moment in the history of terrorism. Many adepts have become radicalized through the Internet. We must take steps to make our societies more secure, but that will not suffice. What is needed at this point is courageous leadership from within Islam to reject the violence. Most victims of the Islamic terrorists are also Muslim. It is time for the clerics, for the political leaders and those who believe in peace and understanding to speak for themselves and restore some sanity.

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