Today’s attack in London is sending out shock waves and sadness. Once again, our hearts ache for the innocent people killed, the injured, their families and communities. Yet again, we are shaken. But, even as we mourn, we must stand firm in our commitment to respect our differences. We cannot let fear weaken our resolve to see each other as individuals. One way is to remember the following facts:
- The West is not alone in confronting extremism. Fatal attacks are a common experience for Syrians, Iraqis, Nigerians and people living in other non-Western countries.
- Religion is not the main reason for terrorism. As of 2015, less than 2% of terrorist attacks in the E.U. were religiously motivated.*
- No religion is free OF fundamentalists. And no religion is free FROM fundamentalists.
- Extremist Hindus in India target both Christians and Muslims.
- Hardline Buddhists in Burma persecute Muslims, leading to what the U.N. deems “ethnic cleansing.
- Sectarian violence exists within single religions.
We know that extremism claiming the mantle of religion is real—and scary. But we, and you, also know the facts. It is keeping these truths front and center that will allow principles of compassion and respect to prevail. Let’s remind people who are afraid, that extremism is global but also exceptional. Facts prove the point! Let’s use them.
Joyce S. Dubensky
*Think Progress. http://bit.ly/2n9qD6G