Over the past few months, individuals affiliated with or inspired by the barbaric group known as ISIS have carried out savage attacks against innocent civilian populations in a number of countries. The latest attack yesterday in Nice, France resulted in the tragic deaths of 84 innocent people.
Equally tragic, but not as widely reported, have been the savage attacks which have been carried out in the last month by ISIS (or ISIS inspired groups) against innocent Muslim populations during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. In Istanbul, Turkey, a Muslim majority country that has been actively engaged in battling ISIS, an airport attack on June 28 resulted in the deaths of 44 innocent people. A café in the city of Dhaka, Bangladesh was attacked on July 1 resulting in the deaths of 22 civilians. On July 3, 2016, a car bombing in a crowded commercial area in Baghdad resulted in the deaths of 300 innocent civilians. And on July 4, a suicide bomber blew himself up at one of the most revered sites for Muslims, the Prophet’s Mosque in Madina, killing seven people. Even more troubling, an ISIS extremist has publicly called for the destruction of the most revered site for Muslims, the Kaaba in the city of Makka.
Without a doubt, ISIS is a savage extremist organization that has no religion and no regard for any human life. Although Muslims are their primary target, their goal appears to be murder and mayhem. All people of conscience must unite their efforts to rid our world of this group.
Sadly, some opportunistic and bigoted individuals in the United States, including political candidates, have used the tragic attacks to target Muslim populations rather than focusing their efforts on combatting ISIS. Such hateful rhetoric can only limit the effectiveness of the common struggle against ISIS and other extremists.
In his speech a few days ago at the Dallas Police Memorial, former President George W. Bush was clearly targeting hateful and divisive rhetoric when he stated: “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” Those who are not driven by bigotry can understand the very simple concept that the actions of few bad police officers can never be used to define all police officers, and the violent actions of the members of any particular group (Muslims, Christians, Jews, African Americans, Whites, etc.) can never be used to define the members of that particular group. The fact that we have to keep reminding people of this simple fact is troubling.