Of the many statements made in the aftermath of Monday’s terrorist attack near a mosque in London, the one from the head of the World Jewish Congress should become a global clarion call for the destruction of the forces of evil.
WJC President Ronald Lauder struck exactly the right note when he said all people must “stand together to defend the critical values of tolerance and freedom that make our society strong.”
“I condemn the abhorrent and vicious attack carried out against innocent people gathered to worship during the holy month of Ramadan,” Lauder said.
He expressed solidarity with the people of London “in confronting another horrible act of terror.”
There’s no difference between acts of terror in the name of religion and acts of terror against a particular religion.
On Monday, 47-year-old Darren Osborne, a father of four living in Cardiff, Wales, drove a large white van into a group of Muslims who were leaving evening prayers at a mosque north of London.
Imam Mohammed Mahmoud told reporters that he and “other brothers” were able to prevent onlookers from beating up Osborne and held him until police arrived. An angry crowd surrounded the suspected terrorist after he was pulled from the van used in the attack.
It would have been easy for the imam and others to step aside and let vigilante justice prevail. But that would have made the bystanders no better than the terrorist.
Just hours after the London attack – the fourth in the last four months in Britain – a man drove a car carrying explosives into a police convoy on the famous Champs-Elysees avenue in the heart of Paris.
The car exploded as the driver tried to ram a police vehicle. He died in the terrorism attack.
In April, an attacker defending the Islamic State group shot and killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees.
And on Tuesday, soldiers shot a terrorist suspect after a small explosion at a busy train station in the heart of Brussels.
Within the context of what has taken place in London, Paris, Brussels and other European cities, the administration of President Donald J. Trump made it clear that America’s commitment to fighting “the plague of terrorism” remains firm.
President Trump, who received updates Monday on the incident in London, did not use Twitter to immediately express his outrage, as he has done in previous terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists.
Trump’s perceived anti-Muslim stance stemming from his travel ban makes it more difficult for law enforcement to establish a rapport with Muslim communities in America.
This strained relationship makes the war on terror all the more difficult because information about Islamic extremists or individuals being brainwashed by Islamic State and other such terrorist organizations is hard to come by.
By contrast, European leaders from British Prime Minister Theresa May to French President Emmanuel Macron to German Chancellor Angela Merkel have gone to great lengths to reassure Muslims in their countries that they are not all being painted with the terrorism brush.
Indeed, IS, al-Qaida, the Taliban and other extremists groups have killed more innocent Muslim men, women and children than those from any other religion.
The intervention by the imam and others at the London mosque that saved Osborne being torn limb from limb demonstrates that not all Muslims living in the West hate democracy and want to replace it with Shariah law.
Indeed, London police Commander Cressida Dick, speaking in the Finsbury Park neighborhood, said people in Muslim communities will see more of their police protecting them in the coming days.
The fight against global terrorism will not be won without human intelligence, information gathered from human sources.
During the Cold War, the CIA employed HUMINT extensively to find out what the Soviet Union was up to.
A similar strategy needs to be adopted by the U.S. and other nations in order to penetrate the secret world of Islamic extremists.