When I heard about the attacks in Paris, my first thoughts were: “Please don’t let them be Muslim.”
But they were. In these types of attacks, they almost always are.
In the United States, I’m sympathetic to Muslims. Many times, they are unfairly criticized and targeted, accused of being hidden terrorists.
But then things like this happen. Or things like Chattanooga. I don’t even want to list them off because of how many there are. Just like most mass shooters are white men, most terrorists are Muslim.
Far too often, people want to claim these people aren’t truly Muslim. I was one of those apologists, but I can’t continue to be. These people are just as Muslim as the peaceful people I’ve met at the mosque in Oxford. Their evilness doesn’t remove or revoke their Muslim identity.
ISIS has well thought out beliefs, they aim to return to a form of Islam that they consider to be true Islam. They are acting as they are because they believe the world is ending soon. They are unapologetically cruel and evil, but they are Muslim.
Not all Muslims are terrorists. We cannot look at all Muslims with fear in our hearts and minds, but we cannot shout from the heavens that Islam doesn’t produce some truly evil people. These people are small, tiny fraction of all Muslims, but that doesn’t erase who they are or what they do.
I fear that a war is coming. I recognize the rhetoric, they desire to escalate. When I think of the people suffering in ISIS controlled territory, I get that twist in my gut that wants to eliminate them all and destroy all remnants of their existence.
But it isn’t that easy. It isn’t that simply.
If a war happens, this won’t be a small war. This will have explosive consequences globally. And how does one deal with those consequences? How is evil contained without this war?
I don’t have any answers.
I won’t be praying for Paris because I don’t believe in the power of prayer. I won’t send them blessings I don’t think will help.
But I will mourn, for the people gone. I will mourn for the people who have gone before them. I will mourn for the people who will eventually be killed after them.
The world needs better than this, but I’m not sure we deserve it.