The jihadist assaults in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket as well as two French police officers have sparked allegations of a failure by French intelligence and security agencies. Jihadists beyond the Middle East are also portrayed as coordinated by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). A closer look suggests those assertions are at best speculation.
The shock wave from Paris is the latest in a growing wave of jihadi-inspired terror against Muslims and westerners in recent months in France, in Europe, in the Middle East and across the globe.
I don't want anyone to ever believe that just because a certain individual has access to a Twitter account it means that she is a spokesperson for the Christian faith. Mocking people of other faith traditions is not Christian. Neither is it Christian to worship the gun culture in America that has done so much damage to our society.
We are two American religious communities in such pain from the outburst of extremist violence in France that we not only have forgotten each other. We have forgotten ourselves.
You can see clearly here at least one area where the attackers failed -- instead of dividing different groups of people, they indirectly united them in their condemnation of the horrific assault.
I have opinions, and if you read my weekly blogs regularly you know that I do not hesitate to voice those opinions. But I am not opinionated. I like to think that I base my opinions on "evidence and good reason."
It is tempting to feel that such vigilantism would be a just counterattack, assuming it is appropriately and proportionately measured. A chilling volley by a virtual, non-state, lone-wolf actor that could strike at any time seems like a just recipe.
Muslims are criticized for being a community, but then asked to react against terrorism as a community. This is called the double bind: be what I ask you not to be. In France, there is not a Muslim community, but a Muslim population. To admit this simple truth would already be a good antidote against the current hysteria, and the hysteria to come.
Both of these large points are true in general, perhaps to the point of banality. Yet the first is too general and the second too specific. Both conceal real nuances that are important to moving policy discussions forward.
As the freedom to say what you think -- even when it is offensive and horrifies others -- is chilled, we lose more than our right to speak our minds.
Yet, we must not now cower in fear and submission to this new tyranny, this expanding Fascism
Muslim-Americans in Kennesaw, Georgia who had hoped to use space in a retail shopping center as a prayer center recently had to confront hateful and ignorant comments from some residents, accusing them of being "enemies" and "infiltrators."
To all those media outlets who have convinced themselves that they don't need to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Mohammed in reporting the recent events in Paris: you are profoundly wrong.
This is not love. This is hate. The Prophet would be horrified at what is being done in his name to avenge disrespect to his honor.
As much as I empathize with the average Muslims facing growing Islamophobia in the West, I must ask their leaders to get real and reject Blasphemy laws as un-Islamic. As much as I respect someone's right to free speech, I must question their judgment and expose their double standard.
When these gunmen and others like them take innocent lives, no matter who they are, because of mere mockery against the Prophet, then they should know that his example was different.