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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Beyond Thoughts and Prayers

Today terrorists struck another European capitol with suicide bombers and explosives. Today, more than 30 people in Brussels, Belgium, were murdered by a bunch of so-called Islamic cowards. Another 300 were wounded.

This attack comes just five months after similar attacks on Paris that killed 130 people. Prior to that, another attack on Paris left 17 people dead. Islamic terrorists gunned down 14 people at a holiday gathering in San Bernardino, Calif., in December 2015. Innocent people were slaughtered in Kenya, Lebanon, Egypt and Nigeria. And the list goes on.

After each attack, people around the world offer "thoughts and prayers" to the citizens killed and wounded, and their families. World leaders pledge to stand together to bring to justice those responsible for the carnage and to support the countries struck once again by cowards who enjoy murdering innocent men, women and children.  

Yet time after time, peaceful nations are again attacked by those who follow a perverted version of Islam. How can any sane person believe that any higher power supports -- even encourages -- the slaughter of people who happen not to believe in their version of a religion? These cowards, who hide behind anonymous threats and black masks, do not represent Islam any more than the inbred members of the Westboro Baptist Church represent mainstream Baptists or Christians in general.

So remembering victims of violence -- whether perpetrated by  cowardly terrorists or gun-happy people with anger or mental health issues -- in our thoughts and prayers does nothing to either stop the violence or console victims and survivors of the carnage. If I lose a loved one to an attack, all the thoughts and prayers on the planet won't assuage my grief. I'm not slamming prayer. Many people find comfort in prayer and in knowing that others are praying for them. But words of support and defiance are not enough.

"Thoughts and prayers" haven't stopped the violence, nor are they likely to do so. We need to marginalize those who believe only followers of their particular version of a religion -- any religion -- should be allowed to live. We need to attack at its core the conditions that lead to radicalization. We need for moderate voices of all faiths to speak out against those who have hijacked their religion and use it to spread hatred, fear and death.

We have to move beyond thoughts and prayers. I don't know what the answer is, but greater minds than mine can surely move the world closer to the day when innocent people no longer are slaughtered in the name of religion.