Last night’s atrocities in Paris have, so-far, claimed the lives of 129 innocent people. For thousands more, today is the beginning of a very long and painful process, nursing a broken heart as they mourn the senseless deaths of sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, lovers, friends.
Those of us not directly affected by the killings are still touched by the loss, and shocked by the brutality and wanton disregard for human life. How can someone have so much hate in their heart that they can slaughter innocent people: how could they possibly justify to themselves the killing of people they had never previously met and who had done them no harm?
Those who committed murder last night in Paris were, themselves, victims: but we should not waste sympathies on mourning their fate or passing. No rational person could possibly justify carrying-out the cold-blooded killing of innocent people. No rational person could believe such slaughter was the will of the God in which they place their faith.
The killers who brought terror and bloodshed to the streets of Paris were victims of a cult that preys on moral and intellectual inadequates, mostly young impressionable and malleable men who can be persuaded that strapping high-explosives around their bodies and blowing themselves apart, after shooting-dead innocent people, is a positive action that a God will reward with a place by His side in Heaven. Of course, those who organise such atrocities and persuade young men to blast their limbs and internal organs across cities like Paris are nothing more than manipulative cowards.
Inevitably, the less intelligent amongst our own population have spent the day bombarding social media with posts demanding war against ‘the Muslims’ who carried-out the Paris killings. If our own moral and intellectual inadequates had their way, we would ‘nuke them’.
To blame all Muslims for the terrorism in Paris is gross-stupidity.
Let me make clear, I am an atheist: I do not believe that an omnipotent being created the universe and determines our lives. I do respect those of faith, whichever form that takes, but I reject the idea that I must agree with their beliefs and follow the teachings of 2000-year-old ‘prophets’ in order for me to live a moral, responsible and productive life.
Those who last night stalked the streets of Paris before unleashing a deadly force, claimed they were men of religion, followers of Islam and worshippers of Allah. In reality, though, Islam denounces what they did. If they actually were believers in the Islamic teachings of the Quran, they would have been aware of this passage (5:32) before they lifted their machine-guns and strapped-on their explosives:
Whoever kills an innocent person, it is as if he has killed all of humanity.
Even if their Heaven existed, there would be no place in it for someone who so comprehensively rejected such a tenet of the faith.
Those who carry-out acts of terror in the name of Islam are actually followers of a perverted version of the religion’s teachings. Their leaders are largely Wahhabis, an ultra-fundamentalist sect originating in Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden was a Wahhabi: he and like-minded others created a terrorist organisation, which became al Qaeda and transformed into the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) – also known as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Islamic State and Deash.
ISIL is funded by Saudi Arabia, which remains a ‘special’ friend of the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The terrorist organisation was initially encouraged and armed by the secret services of the USA, then used as a proxy to overthrow Middle East regimes perceived to be anti-American, such as in Libya and Egypt.
America encouraging and arming ISIL was broadly equivalent to an anti-US country encouraging and arming the Westboro Baptist Church, in the hope it would overthrow the American government. For the record, the Westboro Baptist Church is an American ultra-fundamentalist Christian sect that follows a perversion of the teachings in the Bible. This ostensibly Christian church preaches hate against anyone who does not agree with its beliefs, which includes that God wishes them to picket the funerals of soldiers killed fighting for America: the ‘justification’ being that America is a morally-corrupt state that rejects the Westboro’s perverted interpretation of Christian teachings.
Although an atheist, I accept that most religions preach tolerance and love. Most Muslims and Christians reject and despise the perverted interpretations of their religions practised by extreme fundamentalist sects.
The problem we have, is that extremists claiming to be followers of Islam have been funded, trained and armed by Saudi Arabia and America, and are now in a position to fight a so-called ‘holy war’ against those they perceive to be enemies of the beliefs they hold. This war – whether in Syria, Iraq or western cities – is not holy, it is not religious: this war is terrorism, nothing more and nothing less.
The killers who last night murdered innocent people in Paris were not men of religion, they were not carrying out the will of their God. They were terrorists, moral and intellectual inadequates: they were murdering cowards.
Until America stops funding and arming terrorists, until we ostracise the feudal dictatorship-Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, until the United Kingdom refrains from taking part in illegal invasions and occupations of sovereign countries in the Middle East, the perverted cowards of ISIL will continue to see us as legitimate targets and will have the resources to carry-out senseless and brutal attacks against innocent people, such as those enjoying a Friday evening socialising with friends in Paris.
Rightly, we should pay our respects to the 129 people killed: they, and their loved-ones, should be our primary focus right now.
There is no justification for terrorism, no excuse for cowardly, murderous attacks against innocent people, but we must seek to understand and address the core causes of the mindless violence we saw last night, if we are to bring it to an end.