Religious extremism is a global issue

With the recent attack in France that killed cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo after they offended Muslim extremists, there has been quite a bit of talk about terrorism and how to deal with rising radicalism. While the attack at Charlie Hebdo is certainly tragic, it is also very selective.

Yes, people died in an attack orchestrated by religious fundamentalists, but this happens constantly all over the world. There’s nothing wrong with rising to the occasion and showing support and standing in solidarity with the victims of these horrible acts of hate, but we cannot just stand back and ignore the countless other atrocities being committed the world over just because one happened to hit a western country.

Recently around 2,500 people were massacred in Nigeria by Boko Haram, another extremist group. Over a million Tibetans have been killed since the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 – an extermination that continues to this day. Over 100,000 people have been killed in Mexico since 2006 because of drug wars. Then there are the countless reports of human rights violations around the globe.

The point I’m making is not that the attack on Charlie Hebdo was not heartbreaking, but that this sort of thing happens every day all around the world and often times on much grander scales. Bearing this in mind, it’s interesting to note that France is the only place that has caught anyone’s attention. If we are to condemn one malicious action, we must condemn them all. We can’t be selective. Due to the rise of particular branches of Islamic extremism that threatens the world, there definitely is cause to focus our attention on that more than other events, but we cannot ignore them.

It is incredibly important to understand that every single one of these events is worthy of attention and that we must do everything in our power to eliminate radicalism at its core. Simply sending in military forces or arresting the perpetrators of an attack or placing sanctions on a country is not enough. We have to educate people because once you have a highly educated populace, things like radicalism and human rights violations decrease. Even in the U.S. this is something that needs to be focused on, lest we become a nation closed in on itself and run by corrupted politicians and media hacks who are able to brainwash the masses with their sickening war propaganda, like the film “American Sniper.”

We are not at war with Muslims – we are at war with ignorance. It’s time we started acting in the best interests of generations to come because if we don’t, we will destroy ourselves.

As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

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