Over the past week there have been too many religiously-influenced atrocities committed around the world – all frightening examples of violent extremism: Right-wing Swedish extremists set three mosques aflame; Boko Haram burned homes and murdered 15 more people in northern Nigeria; and masked gunman stormed the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, murdering twelve people while shouting “we have avenged the Prophet Muhammad.”
In the midst of horror, an important lesson emerged. We were reminded how a strong and loving communal response can be a powerful antidote to religiously-driven hate.
In Sweden, we saw how peace can begin with a simple gesture. Following the three arson attacks on mosques, residents “love bombed” one of the mosques by papering the entrance with colorful hearts and compassionate notes. As young children carefully placed their paper hearts – they learned that love is more powerful than hate and that kindness is more powerful than intolerance.
With hope for tomorrow,
Joyce S. Dubensky