By M. Imran Hayee, who is a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He belongs to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of USA.
Nov. 13, the Islamic State terrorist group, also known as ISIS, killed 130 innocent civilians in horrific attacks in Paris. President Francois Hollande of France called it “an act of war” and committed to “destroy ISIS.”
Expressing solidarity with France, President Barack Obama said, “It is an attack on the civilized world.”
The Paris attack was just one of many of ISIS’s attempts to instill fear in the heart of the civilized world and to strip off its precious values of freedom, equality and justice. Yielding on any single one of these principles will bolster ISIS.
ISIS hates to see universal freedom prevail in the civilized world, where all human beings have an opportunity to honorably live the lifestyle they choose regardless of their color or creed. Adding an extra test of race or religion to guarantee that freedom will only make ISIS more successful than it already was with the Paris killings.
After the Paris massacre, the civilized world overwhelmingly outpoured its emotions, expressing solidarity with France. But it failed to show similar response to other such attacks, including the Beirut killings just a day before the Paris attacks, the downing of a Russian plane two weeks prior to that and last month’s twin bombing in Ankara.
When the civilized world values some lives more than others, it creates political and religious polarization, which feeds ISIS’s ideology of hatred and bigotry.
ISIS has no identity except barbarism, even though it hides behind religion to legitimize its inhuman actions. Sadly, many from the civilized world continue to associate ISIS with religion, arguing that ISIS claims to commit terrorism in the name of Islam. How could the witness of a bunch of criminals be so credible? Justice demands that the civilized world view Islam through the actions of millions of peaceful Muslims like the security guard who stopped ISIS’s suicide bomber from entering the Paris stadium, saving thousands of lives, or like the restaurant employee who saved the lives of two women by endangering his own during the Paris massacre.
Indeed, ISIS has waged a war against the civilized world with its full power of hatred and bigotry. The only way the civilized world can win this war is by not letting ISIS dent its resolve to stand firm with its long-cherished values of freedom, equality and justice — regardless of how hard the blow is.