In an age of terror by a criminal few – today ISIS, yesterday al-Qaeda – it is common for a minority to react violently against innocent Muslims, or to desecrate monuments in various parts of the world.
In the age of spreading violence, from city to city, in the name of Islam, it is not strange to hear racist statements from a few officials here and there. But usually those statements are swiftly rejected by the country concerned.
In the age of spreading criminality, fear dominates and tensions rise, but countries hold tighter to their rule of law, and use exceptional powers only to protect citizens and unity.
Inviting the devil into your front room is a recipe for more disasters in the Middle East and beyond.Mohamed Chebarro
In the age of spreading violence, excesses by agents of the law are common, but only to guarantee the removal of an immediate threat. They should not become a permanent feature, threatening to suffocate freedom of expression, religious liberties and tolerance.
A world united?
The world united after the horror of the Paris attacks, the stabbing at the London metro station, and mass shooting in California. Only few voices diverged.
One of them was Donald Trump, a Republican Party candidate for the U.S. presidency, who blamed the Islamic faith for the actions of a few, calling for a ban on Muslims travelling to the U.S., in what amounts to an election stunt.
In France, Marine Le Pen, daughter of the National Front’s first leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, repeated the extreme right party’s wish to shut France’s borders.
Statements such as those by Trump and Le Pen are expected, and reflect an entrenched Islamophobia among those who don’t know better.
“Deal with the devil”
But their statements are arguably not as dangerous as those made by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who called on the political leadership to “deal with the devil” – by aligning with Putin’s Russia and Assad in Syria to contain the ISIS threat.
No one here could belittle the gravity of the threats the world is witnessing: Violent organized terrorist attacks, suicide belts exploding in housing estates, machine-gun fire and random lone-wolf knife attacks on European streets.
But calling for a deal with Putin and Assad is quite a desperate move from a man representing London – a city in which Putin, some claim, allegedly ordered the assassination of his Russian opponent Alexander Litvinenko, in a Cold War style murder involving deadly radioactive polonium.
Calling for the devil’s help is the wrong signal to give Putin, a leader bent on punching first and asking questions later. He is a thug who has stalled Russia’s growth, and invited sanctions due to his regime’s misadventures in Georgia and Ukraine.
Mayor Johnson’s comments are therefore more dangerous than those of Trump and Le Pen.
Inviting the devil into your front room is a recipe for more disasters in the Middle East and beyond. Solving the crisis of Syria through exerting pressure on Assad and his allies is the shorter and more direct route to removing ISIS.
Mohamed Chebarro is currently an Al Arabiya TV News program Editor. He is also an award winning journalist, roving war reporter and commentator. He covered most regional conflicts in the 90s for MBC news and later headed Al Arabiya’s bureau in Beirut and London.
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