The Quakers’ Response to Terrorism

Below is yesterday’s statement on terrorism from Quakers in Britain, the points made apply just as much here as they do there … link: https://www.facebook.com/PeaceMovementAotearoa/posts/941156369265066

Quakers respond to terrorism

24 November 2015

As Parliament prepares to debate next steps in Syria, Quakers in Britain have made this statement:

The attacks in Paris on 13 November were deeply shocking and our hearts continue to go out to those killed, injured, bereaved and traumatised..

It is human nature that the closer suffering comes to us, the more acutely we feel the pain and grief. But that experience should sensitise us to the suffering caused repeatedly by acts of war and violent crime in more distant places, including Beirut, Sinai, Bamako and Aleppo. It should strengthen our determination to build a safer world together.

Terrorism is a deliberate attempt to provoke fear, hatred, division and a state of war. War � especially war with the West – is what ISIS/Daesh wants. It confirms the image they project of the West as a colonialist ‘crusader’ power, which acts with impunity to impose its will overseas and especially against Muslims.

The military actions of Western nations recruit more people to the cause than they kill. Every bomb dropped is a recruitment poster for ISIS, a rallying point for the young, vulnerable and alienated. And every bomb dropped on Syrian cities drives yet more people to flee and seek refuge in safer countries.

Our political leaders seem determined that Britain should look strong on the world stage. Quakers in Britain believe our country should act with wisdom and far-sighted courage. A wisdom that rises above the temptation to respond to every problem with military might. A wisdom that looks back at our failures in Libya and Iraq and Afghanistan and learns from experience. The courage � and strength – to think through the likely consequences of actions to find a long term, lasting solution.

The courageous response of ordinary people who refuse to give up their way of life and refuse to be driven by fear is one that politicians could learn from.

Although there are no quick or easy answers, there are things we can do, all of us together, which will defeat the terrorists more assuredly than military action. Quakers in Britain commit to playing our part in these actions.

We can quieten ourselves and listen to the truth from deep within us that speaks of love, mutual respect, humanity and peace.

We can and will refuse to be divided. By bridge-building among faiths and within our local communities we can challenge and rise above the ideologies of hate and actively love our neighbour.

By welcoming refugees, we can not only meet the acute needs of those individuals but also undercut the narrative of those who seek to create fear and mistrust.

And we can ask our political leaders to:
• Treat terrorist acts as crimes, not acts of war
• Stop arming any of the parties fighting in Syria
• Observe international law and apply it equally to all parties
• Build cooperation among nations, strengthening those international institutions which contribute to peace
• Export peace rather than war, so that we can create the conditions the world needs to address its most serious problems, including climate change.

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One Response to The Quakers’ Response to Terrorism

  1. peddiebill says:

    I would be interested to know how many of the readers agree with the Quaker’s suggested actions.
    From what I know about terrorism I do know that terrorism is usually a response to the belligerent actions of a stronger power and I find the Quaker’s suggestions plausible and should at least help defuse the situation if they were enacted. I also suspect the proposals are so much against normal responses that they are unlikely to be adopted!

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