A Most Violent Month: Terrorism Rocks the World

This has been a particularly brutal month around the world with major terrorist attacks shattering lives in numerous cities from Ankara to Brussels.

In Lahore, Pakistan:

On Easter Sunday, a crisp spring day, some of the city’s Christian population mingled with their Muslim neighbors, celebrating in a neighborhood park — taking their kids on rides or pushing them on swings. Then, the sound of tragedy. Without warning, a blast tore through the park, killing indiscriminately. Because of the innocent setting, an unusually high number of those injured were women and children. But the attack, claimed by a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, intentionally targeted Christians, the perpetrators say. The suicide blast, in the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore, killed at least 69 people, a local government spokesman told CNN. More than 341 others were injured, according to Punjab government spokesperson Jehangir Awan.

In Baghdad:

A suicide bomber killed at least 29 people and wounded 60 others in an attack on a crowd gathered at a soccer stadium south of Baghdad on Friday, according to multiple media sources. The U.S. State Department confirmed the attack in a statement condemning it. The blast occurred during a trophy presentation in the village of Iskandariya about 25 miles south of the Iraqi capital, wire services reported. Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the Amaq news agency, which is affiliated with the group also known as ISIL or ISIS.

All attacks that target the innocent to incite terror are vile, but the recent attacks on families celebrating Easter and gathered to celebrate their local soccer team are an acutely vivid display of the totalitarian vision and merciless worldview of violent Islamist extremists. Religious freedom is targeted. Leisure is attacked. Women and children become mere instruments of their dehumanizing agenda, as the terrorists attack whole families. They are attacking the very foundations of society—that which makes life decent, humane, and worth living.

Neither Christians nor Muslims are safe from their violence. Adherents of all religions and none at all are threatened. Neither those in the West nor the Middle East are safe from their violent plans. From South Asia to Africa to North America, terrorism is a global threat demanding a response from the international community.

The response should be neither isolationism nor nationalism, but an increased commitment to the global common good—to fostering conditions that allow each person to safely reach their full potential as a person. And this requires a revolution in solidarity. Every person has a right to live without the specter of terrorism or tyranny shading all of their actions, whether they live in Lahore, Baghdad, Brussels, or New York City.

There is no easy path to achieving the global common good. It requires prudence, patience, and courage. But there should be no delay in recognizing that we are all brothers and sisters, that every life has worth and dignity, and that human rights belong to all people. Only though the recognition that we are all responsible for the protection and flourishing of one another can we break down the barriers of indifference and fear and address this global threat to human security and well-being.