Anti-terror fight must transcend ideology

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-1-12 0:23:01

The huge anti-terrorism rally in Paris on Sunday was attended by heads of several European nations, including France, the UK and Germany, and also the leaders of major organizations. Such massive demonstrations show Europe's anger over the bloody Charlie Hebdo attacks and its unprecedented feeling of insecurity.

The Global Times staff firmly stands with Europe's people in condemning terrorism. We believe that while there is indeed estrangement and misunderstanding that may trigger strong emotions among certain populations, and these should be expressed and respected, nothing in the world can justify acts of terrorism.

Apart from our support and sympathy, we also want to remind people there that isolating terrorists should be a resolute strategy and they should not be tricked into falling into a clash of civilizations.

Some images Charlie Hebdo published are seen as hugely controversial outside the Western world. The international community must jointly defend the magazine editors' rights to personal safety, but this doesn't mean they side with their controversial cartoons. Those who rally in Europe must take care to focus on the former. There are divided views on the boundaries of press freedom. However, global anti-terrorism efforts should transcend the divergences to be more united in the task.

Countries seldom are deterred by terrorism strategically. Terrorism may bring some damage, but it cannot threaten the fundamentals and rules of a society. The US, China and Russia have adjusted some of their policies after being struck by terrorism, but none of them have changed the confidence and internal structure of their societies.

The Paris attack seems to bring a strong European backlash and extensive fear. The rallies enable European countries to support each other in dealing with terrorism. The terrified feeling some people have is derived from confusing Muslims who oppose Charlie Hebdo with those who support terrorism. In this sense, European countries seem to be mostly vulnerable, since Muslim opponents to controversial cartoons may exceed the population of any European country.

But the terrorists are only a small part of those who disagree with the cartoons.  It is crucial for European society to show restraint and strive for the support of the majority of Muslims in the world. Condemning terrorism can't be extended to a fight of ideologies.

The New York Times did not reprint the controversial cartoons, instead publishing an opinion piece titled "I am not Charlie Hebdo." This suggests a real divergence within the West, which shouldn't be overlooked. Europe has every reason and the powerful strength to condemn and combat terrorism. But it can't be taken as an excuse to support the magazine's absolute interpretation of the freedom of speech. It is a pity that few Islamic world leaders attended the rallies, while US President Obama and his associates were also absent.

The world has to be united in fighting against terrorism and pursuing peace. Don't let our different views empower terrorists.

Posted in: Editorial

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