We are horrified, saddened and enraged at the terrorist attacks that killed and critically injured scores of innocent people in Paris.
These attacks, carried out by Islamic extremists, struck at the very core of one of the world’s great cities, with targets including young adults enjoying a concert, families attending a soccer match and couples dining at a café. They were an assault on every person who believes in freedom and the dignity of life.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the murders; the third time in 10 days they have done so. The attacks occurred less than two weeks after a suspected bomb blew apart a Russian civilian jet, killing 224 people, including 24 children, and less than 72 hours after two bombings in busy Beirut neighborhoods killed more than 40 people.
Islamic extremism has many names and offshoots – Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, ISIS – but they share the same goals: destruction, murder and hopelessness.
As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes in his book, Not in God’s Name, “to invoke God to justify violence against the innocent is not an act of sanctity but of sacrilege. It is a kind of blasphemy. It is to take God's name in vain.”
The Islamic extremists’ depraved worship of violence and death challenges us all.
On Friday night, President Obama said the Paris attacks were “not just on the people of France, but … on all of humanity and the universal values that we share."
We have a shared responsibility to eradicate the evil of violent extremism, before we bury more innocent victims.
At this time of despair and mourning, it is up to us to unite for a better future for our children. Tomorrow at noon, Bostonians will gather on Boston Common to show their support for the people of Paris. For more information, see the Facebook event page.