On March 22, many Americans woke to find yet another city had been attacked by terrorists. We learned that many people had been injured, and some killed. This kind of news is devastating, but our response can make not only our country a better place, but also our world.
As of this writing, the number of fatalities from these bombings is 32. Four of these victims are Americans. It is always heartbreaking to hear of innocent people being killed. Two of the Americans killed were natives of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Their young daughter saw them on a cell phone screen a week before the bombings. This child will probably never remember her parents because she is so little, but in time she will inevitably learn how they died.
Still, as Americans we cannot allow our sadness to turn into hatred of a generalized population. The group responsible for the attack, ISIL, wants the United States to form a resentment of the entire religion of Islam, thus playing into their image of America as an oppressive force. Part of the reason why ISIL has flourished in the Middle East and around the world is because many Muslims feel that they are abhorred by Western nations. Hatred fuels violence, therefore we cannot blame Muslims without perpetuating the problem. Donald Trump has advocated for the deportation of Muslims and the closing of mosques in America. If Trump is elected, more events like this will occur in the U.S. Furthermore, Trump is violating a basic freedom that is guaranteed to every American, freedom of the individual to choose one’s own religious beliefs.
In order to prevent further terrorist attacks we must realize that Islam is not inherently violent. The only reason these attacks occur is because ISIL has developed an online presence that has succeeded in radicalizing many Muslims. The propaganda machine that ISIL has built is effective when combined with the hatred that many conservatives exhibit towards Muslims. The United States needs to support nations who are weakening ISIL. Our goal must not be the destruction of Islam, but the destruction of a radicalized terrorist organization. If this goal is accomplished with the help of American allies, maybe then there could exist a world that doesn’t produce orphans like that little girl in Gatlinburg.
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