“The consequences of the Paris atrocity are a real worry”

CEO Social Justice Blog

People across the world have been shocked by the brutal acts of terrorism carried out last week in Paris.

Our nation will rally around the people of France in offering our full support at this time of horror and sorrow, and so we should.

The consequences of the Paris atrocity are a real worry, particularly:

  • Negative reaction to asylum seekers from Muslim countries who have recently been given such a generous welcome in many western nations, including Australia.
  • Negative reactions to individual Muslims who may be treated with increased suspicion, even hostility.
  • More lives lost as France and its allies seek reprisal.

It is difficult at times such as these to arrive at a balanced response. Bombs and guns were used in Paris and the terror ‘owned’ by IS; and we call the perpetrators terrorists.  However uncoordinated attacks by (often) white individuals in the US have resulted in hundreds of deaths of school children, high school and college students – guns have even been turned on those at prayer.  These US murderers terrorise those communities!   To those killed, the motive of the murderer is inconsequential!  What is the difference between the US massacres, the Paris killings by those of middle eastern origins and the suicide bombings in Beirut 2 days earlier which barely rated a mention here?

All the major religions have compassion and peace in their core belief. These are honoured by the vast majority (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu). We should not blame the whole group for the actions of a few who have a distorted view of their religion or manipulate the religion to achieve political goals.

We must remember that the vast majority of Muslim people have similar aspirations in life as the rest of us: peace, respect, opportunity and security.

There will always be some in any culture who feel marginalised and treated unfairly. At worst this can lead to uncontrolled anger – at best those who are vulnerable –  to unemployment, discrimination etc are supported and included not isolated.

Certainly people who have lost relatives to war in Iraq and Syria have legitimate concerns about military actions of the USA and its allies but acts of institutionalised terrorism are not the answer.

Here at Samaritans, we can play a small part in working for peace and justice by offering unconditional support to those who feel marginalised and by valuing our staff , volunteers and donors who all share our vision  and values, no matter what their religion or ethnic origin might be.