This week marked the release of the 2015 Global Terrorism Index by the Institute for Economics and Peace. After a tragic few weeks of global terror attacks in Paris, Mali, Beirut, Baghdad and in many other places, it may be unsurprising that terrorism is reported to be on the rise. Our hearts of course break for all the victims of this senseless violence. We will re-double our commitment to the work of peacebuilding.
32,658 people were killed in terrorist attacks last year, that’s an 80% increase from 2013. Although ISIS gets the bulk of the media attention, Boko Haram has overtaken ISIS in becoming the most deadly terrorist organization in the world.
It’s important to note that of all terrorist attacks in the world, excluding 9/11, only 0.5% of terrorist attacks have occurred in the West since 2000. Also, 70% of deaths in western countries have been committed by lone wolves, not terrorist organizations.
While terrorism is clearly a problem, it’s also important to be aware that more Americans die in gun homicides and suicides every six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. While the debate continues about what to do regarding terrorism, we must keep our attention and resources on the many of the other, even bigger challenges of violence in society. We have spent trillions of dollars, with hundreds of thousands of lives lost, fighting terrorism since 9/11 — a strategy that we can clearly see has not been working.
We urge our nation to be mindful of what we keep our attention and resources on, and to not let the fear that is stirred up by terrorists overtake our good senses about how we should proceed — and what our real challenges and the deeper solutions are for dealing with them. Learn more through our Fostering International Peace Peacebuilding Cornerstone.
Paris, Mali, Beirut, Nigeria and Beyond
We’ve seen many informative and important articles and media this past week. We’ve compiled some of them to share.
Tolerance Is Not Enough: Why “Active” Tolerance Is Needed Now More Than Ever: Twenty years ago this week the UN adopted Nov. 16th as a time for renewing our commitment to tolerance: “Our practice of tolerance must mean more than peaceful co-existence, crucial as that is. It must be an active understanding fostered through dialogue and positive engagement with others.”
In the Wake of ISIS Terror: Mourning, Lament, Discernment Article from Jim Wallis: “To win the “war” against ISIS, we must win the moral narrative — we must reveal ISIS’s distortions and lies and thus destroy their moral and religious legitimacy to those they seek to recruit. The best way to defeat bad religion is with good religion, and the better way to defeat religious fundamentalism is from within rather than trying to smash it from without.”
The Aftermath of Paris: Thoughtful article from writer Robert C Koehler. “Violence begets violence, war begets war. Knowing this is the starting place. It’s time to start over.”
“Hug me if you trust me, I’m told I’m a terrorist” Watch this powerful video from a Muslim man in Paris. A powerful testament that love is the path forward.
The New Abnormal: Reflections on Paris: Prof. Michael Nagler write from a nonviolent perspective. “After expressing our condolences we should be saying, ‘Let us now pledge ourselves to get to the root of this problem’ – and have the courage to follow that inquiry wherever it leads.”
I will not Succumb to hate: A Father who lost his wife shares his pain and commitment to not hate.
ISIS, the Inside Story: One of the Islamic State’s senior commanders reveals exclusive details of the terror group’s origins inside an Iraqi prison – right under the noses of their American jailers.