It seems like finally after nearly a weeklong nightmare in France things are starting to calm down. Everything started on Wednesday when several gunmen (who will not be named for they do not deserve the fame they sought) stormed into the office of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France, killing 12 people, including a French police officer who was unarmed and executed in the streets. Later that day, another police officer was killed in Paris by a different gunman who was associated with the other two.
The French government and law enforcement knew almost right away that the gunmen were all Islamic jihadi terrorists based on their target and what they reportedly said to survivors inside the Charlie Hebdo newsroom. The attackers reportedly mentioned that they were targeting specific people who worked for the newspaper for defying “the prophet Muhammad.” They also reportedly told people inside that they were launching the attack for AQAP, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Due to this, the attackers were identified quickly.
The situation finally ended Friday when the two who attacked the Charlie Hebdo newspaper were cornered north of Paris and were eventually killed by police when the attackers opened fire. The third suspect, the one who killed the policewoman in Paris, killed 4 more civilians in a Kosher grocery store in Paris before being killed by police officers. A 4th suspect is now thought to have fled to Syria to join ISIS.
The international community was quick to come out and condemn the terrorists and call them what they were, evil terrorists who attacked free expression because they disagreed with something that the newspaper had done. The French government even came out very quickly and declared the attack an act of violence by violent radical Islamic extremists. However, the United States government still has yet to declare that the attack was committed by Islamic radical extremists, as President Obama continues to avoid using the word “Islamic” although the terrorists claimed they were avenging the prophet Muhammad.
Unfortunately this is a pattern we have seen over the past few years from the Obama administration, and they have yet to change their rhetoric despite all of the evidence. Since September, there have been five attacks around the world by radical Islamic extremists, a beheading in Oklahoma, an attack on police officers in New York City, the murder of a Canadian soldier in Ottawa, the hostage situation and homicide in Sydney, and now this attack in Paris. The attack in Paris has been the most coordinated attack in the past few years.
The current resurgence in attacks on the Western World is not coincidental; it is right in line with the emergence of ISIS and al Qaeda’s attempts to stay relevant during the fight. President Obama boldly declared a few years ago that al Qaeda was on the run, but admitted there was still work to do. The international community is now seeing the consequences of not completely defeating al Qaeda and those like them. Although ISIS and al Qaeda are not the same, they appeal to the same types of people with the same type of message, a distorted and violent view of Islam that turns everyday people into violent jihadists who want to kill those who do not agree with this sort of view.
The international community, including President Obama and his administration, has spent too much time trying to be politically correct and emphasize that we must not blame the entire Muslim world for the actions of the minority. I agree, we should not blame the entire Muslim community, as many of them are moderate, and follow the true teachings of Islam, not the radical propaganda being taught to those who are being used by a few angry men. However, we also have to acknowledge the problem. The problem is that radical Islam is growing, and it is not going away. They have declared war on our way of life, and they fully intend to attack us until they defeat us. Although the President may not want to admit that, we must have the same attitude.
Our first step is to actually acknowledge the problem, acknowledge the influence that ISIS and al Qaeda are having, and then work with our allies to develop a strategy. Key to this strategy will be the influence of moderate Muslims across the world. Just a few weeks ago, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, spoke to a group of Imam’s in Egypt and declared that moderate Muslims must “revolutionize” Islam and defeat the jihadists and extremists. We must work with those like el-Sisi who also notice the problem and want to stop it. This is as much their problem as it is ours, and we need to start acting like that.
Unfortunately, it seems to have taken France’s nightmare to wake the rest of the world up to what is going on. So far the United Kingdom, Germany, Israel and Canada are among the many that have stood strong with France and have publically stated they now realize that radical Islam is a problem that must be stopped. As the leader of the free world, the United States should stand with them and do the same. The attacks in Paris should serve as a wakeup call, Islamic extremism is not going away and it must be defeated before it defeats Islam and the western way of life. We must defeat ISIS and al Qaeda specifically and show the world that freedom will always prevail in the end over evil and propaganda. I hope that the free world can now unite, if not, I fear the consequences will be severe.