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Prayer in the Mosque by Jean-Léon Gérôme (Photo credit: Metropolitan Museum)

The massacre in Paris has led me to wonder whether there is a solution to terrorist attacks other than strikes. I keep reaching the same conclusion. I doubt that there can be an effective resolution unless it comes to a significant extent from within Islam. If a person is attacked, self-defense is instinctive. One puts up a fight. However, nearly two weeks after the attacks on Paris and earlier attacks, it would seem that, if at all possible, leaders should continue to seek a diplomatic resolution to the crisis as retaliation could intensify and perpetuate the current atrocities.

My reasoning is based on the cultural prevalence in the Middle East, including Israel, of the lex talionis, “an eye for an eye.” I am using the word “prevalence” because humans tend to retaliate when they are harmed.

However, I am glad to see that there is unanimity at the United Nations. I note, moreover, that Ban Ki-moon did not mention a country which was judicious on his part. The wording is “terrorists and ideology extremists[.]”  There are a large number of “ideology extremists[.]”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on Russia and the US to join their efforts to combat terrorism. He told the annual East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur that terrorists and ideology extremists must be “defeated in the name of humanity.”


For the time being, the United States and Russia will not join forces in combating terrorism. This matter was mentioned during French President François Hollande’s visit to Washington, on 24 November.



It is within the nature of retaliation to perpetuate conflicts. An act of terrorism leads to strikes that lead to other acts of terrorism and to further strikes. There is no end to this process. For retaliation to be effective, all terrorists would have to be rounded up and exterminated, which will not and should not happen.

It appears that two of the assailants in the Paris tragedy entered Europe looking like refugees, which has created greater fear of the refugees. Some of the assailants, however, already lived in Europe. There are Isis terrorists in various countries. We will not have a precise account of the facts regarding the Paris attacks until the investigation is over. There has to be an investigation.

In the meantime, a Russian fighter jet was shot down in Turkey. This matter must also be investigated, but it could be an act of retaliation on the part of Isis, now called Daesh.


Given that the West has mingled in the Middle East, we must also take into consideration the consequences of ill-considered actions. When George W Bush entered Iraq, he violated the sovereignty of a country. In fact, mere intervention is often viewed as interference. It may also be viewed as a rejection of a country’s ability to govern itself. Under such circumstances, countries may lapse into an interpretation of laws that has long fallen into obsolescence. It’s a form of résistance.

In most countries of the Middle East, there is no separation of faith and state, which complicates matters. Sharia law is state and faith combined.

“Sharia and sharia law is the basic Islamic legal system derived from the religious precepts of Islam.” (See Sharia, Wikipedia.)

Therefore, heads fall, limbs are chopped off, and women taken in adultery are stoned to death.

“In the Name of Humanity”

Since 2011, nearly five million Syrians have taken refuge in neighbouring countries and are now seeking asylum in European countries. Canada was to give a home to 25,000 refugees in January, but this process has now been delayed. Yet, the refugees are leaving a country that has been ruined.

Moreover, on 21 August 2013, sarin was used against an enemy sect. Among the 400 to 1,200 people killed were several children. (See Use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war and the Ghouta Attack, Wikipedia.)


After the Paris attacks, presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, a relative of George W Bush, was ready to enter into a war against Isis. It was his first reaction, one that could change. But…


Let me return to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s statement:

…ideology extremists must be ‘defeated in the name of humanity.’

President Obama is still at the helm and he continues to believe that a diplomatic resolution of the crisis in the Middle East is possible. But, as I wrote at the opening of this post, no resolution will be effective unless it comes to a greater than lesser extent from within Islam. Yet Isis “must be defeated in the name of humanity.”

It must be excruciating for Muslims all over the world to watch Isis kill innocent people in the name of Allah. A fire damaged a mosque in Toronto, which is regrettable. Isis is not Islam. It’s a group of terrorists.

I apologize for not posting for several days. It has not been possible. I’m facing a number of difficulties. The Paris attacks have had a nefarious effect on me, as they have on a large number of people. In fact, I’m feeling quite ill.

My kindest regards  


© Micheline Walker
26 November 2015