by Dan Lucas
The world has been rocked again by another violent attack by Islamic extremists. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed credit for the recent horrific coordinated attacks in Paris that killed at least 130 people and wounded more than 400.
Speaking at the U.S. Embassy in Paris the week after the attacks, Secretary of State John Kerry was attempting to contrast the recent Paris attacks from January’s Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris when he said “There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale” to the Charlie Hebdo attack. A “legitimacy,” a “rationale” to the Charlie Hebdo attack where 12 people were killed earlier this year because as CBS noted that French satirical newspaper prints “caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed” which “have frequently drawn condemnation from Muslims.” The Charlie Hebdo attackers had ties to al Qaeda and ISIS.
Kerry’s comments reveal a mindset. They imply that something Charlie Hebdo did rationalizes a violent attack against them – that the attackers’ murderous response had a “legitimacy.”
They are reminiscent of the comments after the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, where U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed. The Obama administration blamed that attack on a video that CNN said “mocked the Prophet Mohammed.” Never mind that it’s been revealed that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was publicly implying the video was to blame while privately telling people like Egypt’s prime minister “We know that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film.”
The point is the Obama administration was implying that an offensive video made by a private individual in the U.S. was somehow justification for murdering a U.S. Ambassador. President Obama even asked Youtube to take the video down, and he told the U.N. that “We understand why people take offence to this video” just weeks after the Benghazi attack.
When someone batters their spouse or partner, we understand that there’s never an excuse for that. Why is it different for Islamic extremists?
If someone beat their wife and claimed it was because she had burned the dinner, Kerry would never dream of saying the batterer had a “legitimacy,” a “rationale.” It is no different for Islamic extremists. Deliberately and violently targeting innocent men, women and children is not OK in the streets of Paris (either time), not OK in Benghazi, not OK at the World Trade Center (either time) and not OK anywhere else.
Islamic extremists have been terrorizing the world for decades. The first attack on the World Trade Center, by what the FBI termed “Islamic fundamentalists,” took place more than 22 years ago. That 1993 attack killed six and injured more than 1,000. There was the Beirut U.S. embassy bombing in 1983, the Bombay, India bombings in 1993, the Kenyan and Tanzania U.S. embassy bombings in 1998, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000, the Madrid train bombings in 2004, the Mumbai, India attacks in 2008 (very similar to the recent Paris attacks), and many, many more.
Islamic extremists are committing atrocities across the Middle East. Last year the BBC reported that a United Nations deputy human rights commissioner “said Islamic State (IS) was believed to have committed systematic and intentional attacks on civilians. They include targeted killings, forced conversions, slavery, sexual abuse, and the besieging of entire communities,” and “women and young girls were allotted as slaves to IS fighters.” In February of this year an ISIS group beheaded Coptic Christian hostages on the beach near Tripoli in Libya. Coptic Christians who’ve been in the area for hundreds of years before Islam began. ISIS is destroying irreplaceable ancient artifacts and ruins in Syria and Iraq.
It absolutely does not help to enable their monstrous behavior by somehow justifying it – either directly or by inference. Excusing what they are doing is not a substitute for stopping it.
To read more from Dan, visit www.dan-lucas.com