Paris Attacks a Wake-Up Call

The Paris attacks should be a wake-up call to the Muslim community which must begin a serious internal dialogue about its religion.


World leaders march for free speech in France. Credit:

The recent terrorist attacks in Canada, Australia, and now in Paris are not a surprise for anyone monitoring the rise of Islamic extremism throughout the world. They are the logical result of a murderous political religious ideology focused on its ultimate goal of world domination being met with a response that uses every trick in the book to avoid facing the truth about its actions and intentions.

It is time that we finally stop this suicidal practice of political correctness. We must call terrorism for what it is and be honest and open about the role that Islamic extremism plays in the spread of violence and terrorism in our world today. There is no place for justifying or excusing terrorist acts of any nature.

Contrary to the popular narrative, Islamic extremism is not rooted in low socioeconomic conditions nor do we see moderation of its aims where these conditions are not a factor. Rather we have seen that wherever Islamic extremists have gained ascendancy the result is subjugation and abuse of women and religious and other minorities; elimination of freedom of expression, of the press, and of religion and conscience; torture, and other violations of human rights.

Calling out Islamic extremism for these outcomes and for the actions of those who adhere to these ideologies is not Islamophobia. It is the necessary and justified action of holding Muslims accountable for the teachings of their religion. In fact, it is our right and our responsibilitytoward ourselves and our children, as well as toward the millions of moderate and secular Muslims who have seen the rise of Islamic extremism in their countries and fear its consequences.

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The biggest dilemma facing Islam today is not the rise of the extremists but the silence of the moderate Muslims. They think that by their silence they are protecting themselves but they are only adding to the problem because in the absence of light, darkness prevails. Whether they choose to acknowledge it or not, moderate and secular Muslims will be the extremists’ next target.

The Paris attacks should be a wake-up call to the Muslim community which must begin a serious internal dialogue about its religion. Those of us who are not Muslims should engage with the Muslim community on these issues openly and honestly from a position of support and concern, not one of hatred and condemnation. Reprisals and backlash will not help, but neither will avoiding the serious issues within the Muslim religion.

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Rev. Majed El Shafie is a human rights advocate and founder of One Free World International (OFWI). Read other articles by Rev. Majed El Shafie.