On November 13, 2015, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks have resulted in the murder of at least 127 people and physically wounding 200 (CBC) in Paris, France. Bombs and Kalashnikov-style automatic weapons were used to kill people as they attempted to enjoy a typical night of sports, music and culture in one of Western society’s most celebrated centres.
This attack follows quickly after bombings in Ankara, Turkey which killed 85 people and wounded at least 250, and in a poor Shia neighbourhood of Beirut (43 dead, 293 wounded). The Ankara bombings centred on a peace rally. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, the violence has been targeted to writers and intellectuals and a Russian passenger jet was bombed killing 224 people.
In just these few recent attacks, sown across several of the world’s most culturally important cities, the number of innocent people murdered or physically injured by faith-based terrorism is tolled in the thousands. Whether ISIS has claimed responsibility for the violence in every attack, and whether that single terrorist organization is in fact responsible for every death or injury, what must be understood from these events is that religious violence throughout the world today is a war on peace activists, tourists, poor people and people who want to enjoy the normal freedoms and activities of their day-to-day lives.
In the same year that Paris has attempted to recover from the attacks on Charlie Hebdo by faith-based terrorists and far too many faith-based murders have taken place in many countries around the world, Centre For Inquiry Canada again condemns and rejects all faith-based intolerance, bigotry, violence, and terrorism.
CFIC calls on our members, volunteers and the secular humanist community to remain committed to humanistic values of compassion and care for the families of the many people who have been murdered and for the people of France whose society has suffered such a shocking attack. Diane Bruce, CFIC’s Ottawa Branch Manager said, “I feel sadness, not anger. Perhaps that is all I can express today. As a humanist, sadness because of this senseless hurt.”
We also call on our community to renew individual and collective commitment to an accepting, culturally-diverse and secular society in Canada. Eric Adriaans, National Executive Director of CFIC said, “We must not submit to unreasoning anger and outrage in the face of these attacks. Secular humanists, atheists, agnostics and all rational people abhor the religious ideology, doctrine or dogma of any faith or belief system which seeks to justify hatred and violence. We feel our grief, sadness and anger but we will not abandon our values and our principles. We will continue to oppose the oppressive ignorance and fear caused by religion. We must use our greatest tools – intelligence, reason, critical thinking, and a commitment to fundamental human rights and freedoms.”