Last Friday, the world was rocked when militant Islamists attacked several different locations in and around Paris.
French President Francois Hollande called these atrocities an act of war. American President Barack Obama condemned the attacks and said the act was against all of humanity and the “universal values that we share.”
The media and much of the population in both Europe and the United States were surprised by the attacks, not to mention shocked by the numerous deaths. It was unspeakable that a terrorist attack of such magnitude could be carried out in a place such as Paris.
And now they’re threatening similar attacks in other cities across the world — including Washington, D.C.
For months, we have seen in the news reports of Syrian refugees streaming into various European nations by the thousands. Our own leaders are still pushing to bring refugees to the United States. Several mayors from across the nation have signed a petition to bring as many as 100,000 refugees to the states.
Many Americans see this as an act of suicide because surely there are going to be terrorists among the refugees, while others condemn them for being prejudiced toward a people in dire need of a safe haven away from the daily acts of horror to which they are subjected. The issue has become politicized and people are condemning each other for their stances rather than working toward a solution.
It is still not yet known if any of the Paris attackers posed as refugees flowing into Europe, but ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) — sometimes also called ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) — has publicly stated its intention to exploit the refugee crisis to infiltrate Western countries that accept them.
GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump said allowing Syrian refugees into the United States could be “one of the great Trojan horses. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also a GOP presidential candidate, joined other many Republican (and one Democrat) governors who said they will refuse Syrian refugees into their states.
On the flip side, the Washington Post says, “Perhaps one of the most persuasive arguments against equating refugees with terrorists is simple: It’s exactly what the Islamic State wants.” Welcoming refugees, the paper says, “undercuts” ISIS’s “legitimacy” because the refugees would rather leave their so-called caliphate to live in “infidel Western lands.”
While we argue and take sides, human beings are being killed. While we denounce each other for our respective stances, hostages are being taken. And while our president goes on national TV and tells us ISIS, the most significant threat to the United States, has been contained, they are taking the lives of our allies.
Sept.11, 2001, was a wake-up call that let Americans know that we are not immune from the real threat of terror. Sadly, we have forgotten that over the last 14 years. Unfortunately, it may take another such crisis for Americans to realize that we must act. We must root out terror and destroy it before it consumes us.
But for that to happen, we must first forget our differences and come together. We cannot fight an enemy while we bicker among ourselves about race, religion or political affiliation. We cannot survive while we argue over Constitutional rights, health care and education. We cannot overcome this unprecedented threat to our way of life while we label those who don’t share our same beliefs.
We all want the same things, and we all think we know best how to obtain them, but at some point we must compromise so that we can again face outward and answer attacks from terrorist organizations.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Terrorist organizations thrive on creating fear among populations, and so Roosevelt’s quote becomes truer today than ever before. We must face our fears, we must fight terror, and we must sacrifice if we are to salvage freedom and our great nation.