Belgium this morning has experienced the effects of radical Islamic terrorism. The heinous attack indicates the great lengths that Islamic extremists will go to create an atmosphere of fear among the peoples of Europe. The was being waged against global terrorism unfortunately is unfolding in Europe, but fear of international terrorism is pervasive regardless of where one lives.
The influx of refugees into Europe in general is creating a social and political upheaval that has reverberations around the globe. Part of the problem is effectively screening immigrants to ascertain that they are not members of covert terrorist groups with intentions to create confusion and destruction throughout Europe on future dates. Vetting migrating refugees from war torn nations is virtually impossible because of the tumult that already exists as a direct result of warfare. Determining the political affiliations of fleeing migrants is something that is never clearly apparent. What is clearly apparent is that the mass migrations of Islamic believers into Europe is an effectual opportunity for radical Islamic terrorists to enter into western society using refugee status as camouflage.
Europe’s quandary is twofold; how does a free society accept refugees that are deserving of humanitarian assistance and how are radical Islamic terrorists correctly identified as part of the process?
Unfortunately, there are no easy remedies to these two questions other than relying on credible intelligence reports that accurately track the movements of subversive terrorists and use that information to protect all of Europe and Western civilization. Political factions throughout the world need to effectively form an intelligence coalition that shares data between each countries resources in order to cause the capitulation of radical Islam to the sensibilities of western society.
The United States government should immediately review policies and procedures regarding visa waiver programs and perhaps at once terminate the program out of concern for national security. Political debates between the hopeful presidential candidates need to terminate and a unified political front needs to emerge as a defensive front against potential terrorism in the United States. Precaution by the American government should be viewed not as an act of aggression, but one of cautionary good judgement in order to safeguard American citizens at home and abroad. Most importantly, Americans throughout the world need to recognize that the world is indeed at war with radical Islam and every precaution should be taken to safeguard their own persons and all peoples worldwide.
Catholics travelling throughout the world should also pause and exhibit particular concern after the attacks in Brussels and realize that there is not only a political conflict emerging in Europe, but a theological conflict is resurging between Christianity and radical Islam. The reality of terrorism is no longer something that should be considered as isolated to the Middle East and the continent of Europe, radical Islam is kicking in the door of peaceful citizens of the world everywhere. Despite our common monotheism with the Islamic faithful that are not terrorists, is not what is at issue with Catholicism or Western Civilization as a whole. The spread of a radical ideology of Islamic beliefs is the problem that confronts all of the peaceful faiths of the world, and is determined to undermine and ultimately subjugate all peoples that are not in agreement with the tenets of Islamic extremism.
Winston Churchill astutely predicted the fall of an Iron Curtain across eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War with the rise of the Soviet Union and the ideology of hard core Communism. The warning was not heeded and almost half a century transpired before the oppression of Soviet Communism met its demise.
The air of anticipated fear permeates the world in response to the ISIS attacks in Belgium this morning. The response of the allied nations of Europe should be one that effectively safeguards the European Union with commensurate actions to bring the perpetrators to justice. Most importantly, the peoples of Europe and the rest of the world should not see this atrocious act of brutality against the people of Belgium as the opportunity to make things, “right,” through an excessive military response. While the attacks will undoubtedly ignite some sort of military response in Belgium and perhaps in the United States it is not an occasion to initiate global warfare on all members of the Islamic faith.
The political and military response to this morning’s attacks by ISIS should reflect the principles of a just war as defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph 2309.
- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
- there must be serious prospects of success;
- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated (the power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition).
While military restraint is often a topic of political debate among the world’s nations, the use of the military in response to a direct attack by terrorists is something that is evolving in American society on a daily basis.
The United States without a doubt will stand firm as an ally of the Belgian people in a determined exposition of alliance with our European allies. The American response is critical towards the world’s success as it seeks an end to end international terrorism. Most importantly, the European and American response as allies should not be one that disregards the real plight of the Islamic peoples that emigrate to Europe not to subvert the principles of freedom and democracy, but to experience those principles and all of the realities inherent to the notion of freedom. Legitimate refugees should indeed be provided with sanctuary that allows them to freely practice their Islamic faith and experience the freedoms associated with the countries of Europe. However, realistically, everyone throughout the world need to understand and fully comprehend the severity of what is developing globally with the continued rise of radical Islamic terrorism.
While the admonitions of Winston Churchill unfortunately went unheeded the world needs to once again recall the invocations of Blessed Pope Paul VI during his address to the United Nations in 1965, “No more war, war never again!” While the pleadings of Paul VI continue to resound with the teachings of all of his successors, the world needs to be reminded of Paul VI’s pleadings for global peace and harmony.
It is now 2016 and the echoes of Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis continue to plea to all peoples, faiths and nations, “No more war, war never again, “as the global community desperately attempts to resolve our existential conflict with radical Islam. Regardless of the prophetic admonitions of the world’s great leaders it seems inevitable that global war will continue to emerge as a reality of our contemporary society. Collectively, the nations of the world need to find a way to establish peace. Peace that will last in order to permit the peoples of the world to experience its fruits, regardless of faith, political ideology or ethnic roots.
In conclusion, Saint Francis of Assisi exemplified the desires of what each individual in the world needs to pray:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.