While expressing our solidarity with the French people following Friday’s terror attacks, we should reflect that Arab lives matter just as much. Over 40 people died in Beirut in a terrorist attack carried out by Islamic State suicide bombers a day before the Paris strikes, but Lebanese victims did not attract the same attention as those tragically killed in France. No one changed their Facebook profile pictures to show solidarity with the people of Beirut.
But these attacks are an assault on all of humanity by followers of a nihilistic death cult. All acts of jihadist terrorism are equally atrocious and unjustifiable and all victims are equally deserving of our sympathies. When we accept that Daesh-inspired terrorism is everybody’s problem, we will stand a better chance of countering it. These are moments when we should stick together and demonstrate unity against this scourge. What’s more, it will be easier to win the war if we don’t alienate more people than we need to.
Ultimately, the poisonous ideology that underpins IS (and any other organisation of mindless zealots who murder innocent people and blow themselves up in a perverted quest for salvation in the next world) needs to be more and more marginalised, until it effectively disappears. And that process probably needs to be Muslim-led.