The Worst Possible Responses to the Paris Attacks

This article was originally posted on in 2015. It is presented here without editing or modification from the version which was published.

A rant in article form.

As French and Belgian authorities continue raids across Western Europe against Daesh sympathisers in the aftermath of the deplorable atrocities in Paris that killed at least 130 people (AFP), it is important to call out the bullshit. These are the worst responses to the recent attacks.

Blame Islam

Not only is this what Daesh wants you to do according to the propaganda magazine Dabiq, it’s also extremely misguided. According to many reports (including one from the United Nations), the so-called Islamic State has killed more Muslims than any other religious groups. There are more than 1.6 billion (with a ‘b’) Muslims worldwide; almost two-sevenths of the world’s population. It is statistically impossible for all of them to be IS fighters, considering that IS has about 258,000 fighters. That is less than 0.01% of all Muslims. Suggesting that all Muslims support terrorism is like suggesting that all Jews support Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine (many don’t) or that all Hindus attack people who eat beef (which has happened).

As I mentioned at the top, IS wants you to blame Islam because they believe that it will set Muslims on a path against the west which appears to be working. They want the far-right NaziPatriot” Groups to panic and fear them (which let’s face it, no matter how much they insist that they aren’t scared of Islamic terrorism, they fear them. Otherwise they wouldn’t be protesting them). They want the far-right groups to discriminate against Muslims which in some people, conditions them into radical Islam to take vengeance on the blasphemous West. As The Project host Waleed Aly said, the best weapon against IS that us civilians can use is unity.

Reject Refugees

This is arguably the dumbest reaction. The risk that terrorists are disguising as refugees is real. I’m not going to dispute that. I just think that it’s overblown. It would be irrational to deny people the right to escape things that no one should never have to see just because a few of them might be Jihadis-in-disguise. How dare the right-wing tell these people to go back to where they came from? Where do they have to go when they get back? This lack of empathy to people who are suffering hard is utterly disgusting and it makes me teary-eyed just thinking about what these people are going through.

What is the rationale of supporting airstrikes near a place where civilians live and then telling those same civilians to go back to their dilapidated homes when they look for a safer place to live?

They clearly want nothing to do with Daesh just like no-one in the West does.

Forget Other Attacks

I’m guilty of this. I didn’t even know that there was a double-bombing in Beirut (Lebanon, a Muslim-majority nation) until about 9 hours after the initial shootings in Paris. There were many attacks this week, including one that is ongoing (at the time of writing) in Mali. Facebook received flak after they enabled their safety checker for Paris but not Beirut. Facebook justified this by stating that Paris was the first man-made disaster that they had enabled it for.

All terrorist attacks are tragedies, I know it’s hard to focus on 50 [hyperbole] different attacks at once but at least spare a single thought for others. The bombing in Beirut shouldn’t be a footnote on the end of a news report on TV news. It should have its own separate story.

“Give Them Guns”

Donald Trump was criticised after he suggested at a rally that if the French had access to guns, the terrorists wouldn’t have killed as many people as they did. It is deplorable that Mr Trump would use the Paris attacks to further his agenda. Even Marine Le Pen of the far-right party, the National Front refused to take advantage of the attacks for political gain.

France isn’t like the United States, Donald! It had open borders with countries that have less strict gun laws where terrorists can legally buy guns and then smuggle them in. This means that France has a harder time controlling guns than say, a gun-free United States would. The United States has a border with Canada, a country with strict gun control (which seems to be working) and a heavily patrolled border with Mexico.

“Don’t Call Them [the terrorists] Masterminds, Call Them Thugs”

Donald Trump had this to say on the attacks after the news media reported that French officials had found the mastermind behind the attacks;

It takes a fucked up person or group of scarily smart people to plan the carnage and bloodshed that occurred on the fateful Friday night. They are masterminds. Unstable, radicalised masterminds. They are also thugs and losers but suggesting that they aren’t smart severely underestimates the power of these groups. Suggesting that calling these terrorists ‘masterminds’ will somehow entice young people to join Daesh is ludacrious. How many Americans joined Al-Qaeda after is was revealed that Osama Bin Laden was the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks? I’m going to guess that the answer is not many.

Do I need to mention that ‘masterminding’ an attack is synonymous with ‘planning’ an attack.

Extra Points

…Maybe because at this point in time it was unclear who committed the attacks.

Article image courtesy of Bernd Schwabe via Wikimedia Commons