Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who were murdered in last week’s brutal terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris.
As the home to the largest Muslim and Jewish population in Europe, France has the immense challenge of maintaining a secure, free, democratic and multi-cultural society.
Prime Minister Hollande has to convey two essential truths simultaneously. Terrorist attacks cannot and will not be tolerated. Nor, however, can western democracies allow retaliatory attacks on Muslims and their houses of worship.
Evil is not an abstraction. Our enemy is real. That enemy, however, is not Islam, but extremism. What classifies the perpetrators of last week’s attacks, along with those who recruited, trained and assisted them as evil, has nothing to do with them being Muslims and everything to do with them being murderers.
Whether we live in France, the U.S. or anywhere else where Muslims live as a minority among us, we have a moral responsibility to make a vast distinction between condemning violent people and condemning a people as violent.
May The Source of Strength and Compassion grant comfort and consolation to those who are reeling from the violence and horror of last week.
May all people—Jews and Muslims, Teachers and Students, Writers and Artists, Mothers and Fathers—find peace in the public square and in the privacy of their homes, where they walk and work, draw and cook, learn and shop, pray and sleep.
May the work of art that is Paris, and all the people who make it the remarkable city it is, once again know joy, beauty and peace.