Shocking images, and devastating news first met waking eyes in North America today. A terrorist attack filled the early day’s news with shocking pictures documenting the death and destruction leveled upon the airport and metro in Brussels. ISIS has already claimed responsibility for this attack, in which early reports indicate more than thirty lives were lost and hundreds injured. Truly a tragedy for the people of Belgium, one their friends around the world mourn with them.
Thousands worldwide have offered condolences and support in the wake of this atrocity, as they have in the past faced with such horrors. Along with sympathies, many have offered up opinions and advice on how to best combat terrorism. Strategies which offer considerably less comfort than found in the heartfelt expressions of sorrow.
In fact, much of of this so called advice is nothing but anti Islamic propaganda meant to further election chances. Not only is that a reprehensible response to such loss, it helps guarantee further condolences will be called for after another attack in the future.
Reaction from politicians here in Canada to these attacks has been appropriately somber, respectful and relatively free of the more dangerous sentiment found elsewhere. Here’s hoping that trend continues and Canadians are quick to speak against those who chose to meet tragedy with bigotry.
Already this morning, Donald Trump has reiterated his call for a complete ban on Muslims entering the U.S, and continued to advocate for torture. He has yet to call for the murder of the assailants families, but it is a position I doubt he would suddenly shy away from in this case. The implications of war crimes aside, Trump sees no irony in taking innocent lives as a response to the same.
Senator Ted Cruz was not to be outdone by Trump in the ongoing affront to the U.S Constitution that is the Republican race. Today Cruz called for law enforcement patrols of “Muslim neighborhoods” to secure them against radicalization. No details were provided on what that meant, how many Muslims constitute a neighborhood, or how such targeted discrimination would be legal, but somewhere a Cruz voter likely feels safer in their stupidity.
Such boldly hateful rhetoric does anything but make people safer. Muslims living in the United States, Canada and elsewhere, will again find themselves victims of harassment, assault, or God forbid worse. People will feel their prejudices justified, by the tacit endorsement of hatred people like Trump and Cruz provide. Some of those same people fueled by fear and ignorance will lash out, and more innocent people will be hurt.
Fueling the hatred of those within their own borders is bad enough. The truth is Trump, Cruz and others drawing from a well of bigotry for their words, do plenty to help grow the very threat they propose to stand against. Every horrible thing ISIS would have people believe about the West is on display, live on CNN, for them to recruit with. Verbal attacks against Islam, coupled with the inevitable physical attacks on Muslims, fuel the fires in which vulnerable youth are forged into mindless killers.
Those who would murder innocents in a perverted, ugly tribute to any faith or ideology must be caught and ended by whatever means are legally available. We can not however, defeat terror by visiting the same upon those who simply look or pray as our enemies do. That is terrorists end goal after all. To have the fear and hatred which have infected their lives consume ours as well.
We honour the victims of these atrocities best, when we refuse to give in to the same hate which took them from us.