What can we do?

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), probably the most bloodthirsty terrorist group ever, hit Paris on Friday night. According to news agencies, 129 died and hundreds were wounded. The ISIL militants attacked seven different venues at the same time. I send my condolences to the families of the victims and share my feelings of solidarity with the French people.

As the G-20 meets in Antalya, world leaders will discuss the necessary answer to this terrorist attack. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said there was no need for a complete review of the bloc’s refugee policy after the Paris attacks. “Those who organized, who perpetrated the attacks are the very same people who the refugees are fleeing and not the opposite. And so there is no need for an overall review of the European policy on refugees,” Juncker said in a joint conference with European Council President Donald Tusk ahead of the G-20 summit.

We have to concentrate more on the source of such terrorism. We can hit ISIL targets in Syria or in Iraq, as we did before in Afghanistan or other places, however this does not help combat terrorism. In fact, it triggers further terrorism in response. The Western world has created a relationship based on “contrast” with the Islamic world. The “clash of civilizations” theory and others support this concept of contrast. In the Islamic world, this contrast caused a response which became the grounds for terrorist activity. Thousands of people are going to the Middle East to join ISIL. In my opinion, their subconscious motivation is to respond to the contrast and the outrage and humiliation that they feel as a result. They express themselves by attacking innocent, ordinary people.

Controlling rage with gentle hand
Western civilization has to control this rage with a gentle hand. “Absorption” has to be the key word. Any answer just involving military solutions will not solve the problem for ever. Solutions at the cultural, scientific and religious levels are needed. Statistically, we know that these kind of attacks decrease during times when there is an “alliance of civilizations.” Cultural espousing and inclusion can convince these people that they belong to the same human race. Religious education and contemporary interpretations of Islam are needed now to convince these people that the actions they undertake are contrary to the basic principles of the religion.
The harsh seventh century tribal cultures of the Arabian deserts shaped Islam for centuries, and their traditions evolved into unquestioned rules. The hardline interpretation of the Quran by tribal cultures clashes with mainstream Islamic beliefs. The Quran promotes women’s rights, the protection of the weak and minorities, the use of reason, peace and inclusion of non-Muslims. After Prophet Muhammed’s death, opposing forces inside Islam clashed for centuries bitterly resulted with creating a political Islam. This exterme interpretation effected with inferiority complex and defeatist emotion is not accepted by the vast mojority of today’s Islamic world. All real Muslims are sad about the Paris attacks today, not just because they are embarrassed by militants sullying their religion, but also because they realize that they have to respond to fundamentalist interpretations of Islam as well.
Both Western and Eastern civilizations have to give a united response to these actions. The reply must employ science, culture and inclusivity. The languages might be different, but what we understand and think is the same. Today is a day to stand in solidarity with the French people for the second time this year.
Gunal Kursun
Source: Today’s Zaman