The Irish statesman Edmund Burke famously asserted that, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” His words ring true today, particularly as they apply to Islamic terror.
Several commentators in recent years have criticized the great majority of peaceful Muslims for not speaking out forcefully enough to condemn those carrying out horrific acts in the name of Islam. Whether the accusation resonates often depends upon where one sits on the political spectrum.
In France, however, two recent terror events have prompted that nation’s Muslim community to move to more aggressively combat Islamic extremism.
In July, a man of Tunisian descent drove a truck through throngs of street revelers celebrating Bastille Day, killing 84 people in Nice. Less than two weeks later, two 19-year-old Muslims inspired by ISIS stabbed a Catholic priest at a Normandy church altar.
On Sunday, more than 40 French Muslim professionals published a joint statement urging their community to be more vehement in taking action to prevent such attacks. “We must speak because Islam has become a public affair and the current situation is intolerable,” the statement said.
This is indeed a welcome development. Success in the fight against Islamic terror ultimately depends upon the cooperation and moral guidance of moderate Muslims.
“The most important challenge is not that of institutions,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told The Associated Press. “It is that of our citizens of the Muslim faith who in their families, their neighborhoods, must feel concerned and take their responsibility in hand.”
That good men and women have recognized the need to step forward in France offers a glimmer of hope that the nation can make progress toward eradicating the evil scourge of Islamic terrorism.