We are engaged in a war of might and ideas between fascist theocracy and secular democracy—two things so opposite, they belong in The Foot Book.
Terrorist attacks by religious fundamentalists have the goal of making us so afraid that we are willing to betray our own principles of value. For example, the most recent attack in Brussels left 31 innocent people dead and over 300 injured,. Thus, demagogues of intolerance, like Donald Trump, are actually helping fundamentalists reach their mark by propagating fear and prejudice against Muslims as a whole.
Just as it is wrong to kill people over ideas, it is wrong to discriminate against people for their ideas. Rather than letting fear destroy us, we must reject bigotry and stand united with our secular allies in solidarity.
It is important to keep in mind that most of the world cherishes secular democracy over theocratic fascism—even most Muslim-majority countries. From India to Japan to France and America, we all have to stand together. Supporting our secular Muslim brothers and sisters is important, especially as we fight our common enemy: those who desire to force their way of life on others through violence. The march in Paris after the atrocious attacks on the Charlie Hebdo publishing office is one example of grand unification.
Nevertheless, we fail at this kind of alliance in most other avenues. In America, the embarrassingly barbaric success of Trump in our presidential race signifies just how much we are shooting ourselves in the foot. His idea of putting up a wall between the United States and Mexico is reminiscent of the Berlin Wall and how well that worked for social cohesion—it didn’t. How a person so contradictory and dully deceptive as Trump can harness so much support makes me question America’s ability to win this war.
When Salman Rushdie wrote his novel, The Satanic Verses, there was a violent response from pockets of the Muslim diaspora. Yet, it is truly sad that society condemned him for publishing the book, instead of condemning the violent protestors and thugs that continue to threaten Rushdie’s life.
Rather than standing up for what we believe in, we collectively surrendered the very important liberty of anyone being able to write a novel in the interest of being inoffensive.
Complacence with our fellow citizens being bullied by religious and political zealots demonstrates terror is working. The zealots are making us so afraid of retaliation that we will not stand up for the rights of our own people.
To continue with such rotten repletion is to embark on a road of self-destruction, because the minority of fundamentalists that constitute a danger to us cannot win without the willful capitulation of our own way of life.
Essentially, we cannot fight brown shirts with brown-shirt tactics. But if we do, we forfeit the very principles that make our society as free as it is. Peace be with Brussels.