Terror in France: What’s next for Jews and Muslims?

Suspected French terrorist Mohammed Merah, is dead. His victims, including three Jewish schoolchildren – Aryeh Sandler (age 6), Gavriel Sandler … Continued

Suspected French terrorist Mohammed Merah, is dead. His victims, including three Jewish schoolchildren – Aryeh Sandler (age 6), Gavriel Sandler (age 4), Miriam Monsonego (age 8), a rabbi and father of two of them (30 year old Yonatan Sandler) — and three French paratroopers, all Muslim, have all been buried. Nothing however, should be put to rest.

In fact, even as politicians and community leaders on all sides share their conclusions, prescriptions and “take-away” lessons from these events, we need to be asking more questions before rushing to answers. And before we do either, people need to mourn. In fact, how we mourn these events will show whether we view the loss of life, especially innocent life, as more than a political issue, or not.

Laurent Cipriani

AP

Relatives react during the Mohamed Legouad’s funeral in the Grand Mosque of Lyon, central France, Thursday, March 22, 2012. Mohamed Legouad, 24, a French paratrooper, was killed in Montauban by the suspected French Islamic extremist Mohammad Merah, France’s chief suspect in the shooting of three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi, and three French paratroopers in three separate incidents.

There is the almost impossible, but truly necessary, task of not totally demonizing the murderer. I am supporter of the death penalty. Were he alive, I would work to see this murderer go to the top of the list. But in the spirit of Talmudic tradition, I would still be challenged to see him as a human being – one, who no matter how guilty, leaves behind people who loved him. In fact, that awareness is one of the things which separates our culture from that of the terrorists.

The people of France, all people, but especially Jews and Muslims, must see that that the entire nation mourns the death of innocents –that whatever one’s faith or politics, what occurred is a national tragedy. President Sarkozy has said as much, and Foreign Minister Alain Juppe’s presence on the plane which carried the murdered students and their teacher/father to Israel for burial, were good starts. More must be done.

Jewish citizens must be reassured that this is not the beginning of an ugly new chapter for Jews in France – one in which Jewish blood is cheaper than that of other French citizens, and Muslim citizens must be reassured on two fronts: 1) That these events do not mark all Muslims either as terrorists or terrorist sympathizers, and 2) That political correctness will not get in the way of seeking out those who use Islam as cover and justification for their murderous intent.

The Muslim community needs to mourn the loss of three young soldiers who, like the Jewish victims who died simply because they were Jewish, may have been targeted precisely because they were Muslim. The fact is, terrorists inspired by Islam, murder far more Muslims they do either Christians or Jews. This is a moment to show how that fact tears at the heart of the global Muslim community, and what that community is doing to address it meaningfully.

Mourning sheds light not only on those being mourned, but on those observing their loss. Will we allow rage to drive out all compassion? Will we join together to both offer security and demand accountability? Will we engage in the kind of soul-searching which helps the future to be better than the present?

These are the questions before us all, albeit in different ways, regardless of nationality or religion. How we respond makes all the difference in the world. The coming days and weeks will tell.

About

Brad Hirschfield An acclaimed author, lecturer, rabbi, and commentator on religion, society and pop culture, Brad Hirschfield offers a unique perspective on the American spiritual landscape and political and social trends to audiences nationwide.
  • xexon

    Perhaps the silver lining to this dark cloud is one of visibility. It brings to light simmering passions on both sides. And in that light we can see how ugly it truely is. It will make us pause, and perhaps even reconsider.

    x

  • seahorse56

    So this guy was under surveillance? By whom, Mr. Magoo? How could he collection such an arsenal if security forces were supposedly on to him, putting him on the “No Fly List” and so forth? The next phase of the liberal press will be to conclude that “French Moslems fear backlash”; in other words, forgetting the real dead bodies on the ground and wringing their hands for the hypothetical ones from the “feared backlash.” Or as that Aussie paper put it: “Moslems fear backlash for tomorrow’s bus bombing!”

  • WmarkW

    From the Canada Free Press:

    There was a time when Jewish children were hunted down and killed in France. Their killers believed themselves to be members of a superior group that was destined to rule the world and enslave or exterminate members of inferior groups. The cowardice and appeasement of the French authorities allowed them to operate freely, to kill Jews and launch attacks on other countries.

    What was then is now again. The occupying army doesn’t wear uniforms, it wears keffiyahs. It doesn’t speak German, it speaks Arabic. It doesn’t believe that it is superior for reasons of race as much as for reasons of religion. It does not view all others as Untermenschen, but as infidels. It looks forward not to a thousand year Reich, but to a thousand year Caliphate.

    It won’t end with taking down one man and it won’t end with Jewish children. When your ideology believes that it is in a zero-sum struggle with the rest of the world and that membership means that you are a superior breed of human being because you worship the Fuhrer or Allah, then it won’t stop. It won’t ever stop. Not until the figurehead is toppled, the creed is humiliated and the supermen are shown to be cowards, neurotics, pedophiles, insecure men dressing up their weaknesses in power fantasies.

    Between all the non-stop coverage, the expressions of grief, the political pandering, no one is stating the obvious. France has been occupied all over again. Once again, the occupation has been carried out with the consent of the authorities who have decided that cowardice is the only way.

    The names of Chamberlain, Petain and Quisling have become eternally infamous because they stand for appeasement and collaboration. But, then, what do we make of the names Blair, Sarkozy and Stoltenberg? What have the latter done differently from their predecessors? The left likes to pretend that its collaboration with Islam is moral, while the collaboration with Nazism was immoral. It’s a distinction without a difference.

    Isla

  • xexon

    Are you saying that Jews and Christians are not also wife beaters, pedophiles and bullies?

    Your post reeks of hate. The same kind you wag a finger at in others.

    This is not the path home.

    x

  • WmarkW

    Do you mind if I hate Naziism, while admitting the individual Nazis loved their families and community?

    I’m not generally a fan of violent anti-Semitism, world conquest, or turning off one’s mind. Bloody borders brings any belief system into question.

  • kst2

    The author may wish to broaden his horizons beyond the three Abrahamic faiths. Islamic terrorisom has impacted Buddhism, Hinduism and African Religions at least as much as its has impacted Christianity and Judiasm.

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