By Omar Ali, a Muslim academic resident of Walnut Creek
No doubt that terrorism has been a major threat to the world for a long time. However, this new global challenge to the international community has demonstrated that it is no longer conducted on a small scale as individual criminal act. Terrorism today is a major global threat. More than fourteen years ago, the United States, supported by the United Nations took action to eliminate this scourge phenomenon. Unfortunately terrorist threats have not been eliminated.
True Muslims all over the world condemned all terrorist attacks including those committed in Paris and San Bernardino. We are even more deeply concerned that the terrorists who perpetrated them were Muslims. It is important to emphasize that terrorism has no religion but is based on blind hatred. The American Muslim communities as well as Muslims all over condemn terrorism, and express their shock for the loss of innocent lives. For this writer and the greatest number of Muslims all over the world, the question is more than the agony of seeing innocent people being murdered by that these terrorists, but there is an added pain to witness the exploitation of our religion Islam, the religion of peace by these terrorists who claim to be defending Islam, which is absolutely untrue. While many Muslims declare “Not in my name,” I wish to add that we are injured by these terrorist attacks because we are part of the international community, which is built on renunciation of violence, and respect for the law. We reject these terrorist actions because they tarnish the reality of Islam.
The thugs who committed the terrorist attacks took advantage of the liberties that are enjoyed by every member of the societies in the civilized world. More than a decade ago this writer spoke at the Civic Park in Walnut Creek, and demanded that international efforts should be made to resolve chronicle political problems all over the world including socioeconomic questions. Finding a solution to world problems including poverty and denial of political and human rights is essential for the international community. That will prevent terrorists from hijacking any religion due to the frustration of young people, who would become tools in the hands of extremist groups pushing them to commit these murderous acts.
While the United Nations Security Council has been engaged in efforts to combat terrorism, there is an urgent need to review previous measures, and to determine how the terrorists have been able to continue their despicable plans despite the declared statements by world leaders against terrorism.
The United States and the United Nations must continue in their efforts to eradicate terrorism despite the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. For the latter attack, there must be effective measures to ensure gun control to prevent criminals from having easy access to guns. The input of people in the United States is of great importance. This could be achieved by more vigilance as well as avoiding unmeasured and hasty reaction particularly against American Muslims. There have been unfortunate statements in the presidential campaigns against Muslim Americans, and that will not contribute to fighting terrorism.
Instead, we should affirm the fact that we are living in a state that respects the rules of law, will not rush into superficial judgment, and we have confidence in our ability to face this challenge. The United States has all the elements of power to prevail. In the meantime, by the strengthening our national unity, determination, and enhancing the role of civic society, we can send a clear message to the terrorists that their defeat is imminent.
The debates in the United Nations and particularly in the Security Council as well as in the media should not be directed for partisan purposes and to seek scores among political powers and major world powers. Every state and individual are threaten by international terrorism. Therefore, the United States government must press for action that will be avoiding the mistakes of the past, and ensuring the success of efforts toward achieving solutions to all international problems based on peace and justice rather than having American Muslims and Muslims all over the world as scapegoat. Resolving international disputes on the basis of peace and justice will enhance international efforts against terrorism. It is known that despite the claims of Russia and China that they are favoring international cooperation particularly through the United Nations Security Council to seek solutions to the Syrian civil war and other international crises, the world is still waiting to see a real consensus emerging in the Council with solid plans to deal with all international crises, including combating terrorism and resolving the Syrian crisis, which became the ground for the exploitation of the anger of the youth and attracting them to be part of the terrorist networks.
Another issue of concern is the need to protect the cyber world, and to prevent terrorists and other criminals from exploiting the great achievements in these technologies. The major powers, instead of competing through espionage, must encourage cooperation, which would lead to expose and eradicate nefarious activities of terrorist groups, and other criminal activities on the internet. The observance of the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations, which survived the hot wars in different areas of the world, and the Cold War between the United States, and its allies on one side, and the former Soviet Union and its allies on the other, should enhance cooperation of the members of the United Nations Security Council and all nations to overcome these new threats to world peace and security by defeating terrorism, resolving other international crises thus establishing durable peace and security for this generation and future generations.