On November 18, investigative journalist Brad Friedman recounted a series of horrifying attacks on Muslims in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. The raw hatred directed towards peace-loving Muslims in the days following the peril in Paris is an international disgrace, every bit as immoral as the terror attacks themselves. Thankfully, Emma Parkinson, the young Australian woman who survived the bullets in the Bataclan, rejects this mindless Muslim-bashing:
For now, [Parkinson] is looking forward to returning to Australia his coming weekend to spend time with her friends and family.
But before then she has a message that she wants the world to hear.
“She’s not going to let terrorism affect her love of France and her life,” said [60 Minutes Australia reporter Ross] Coulthart, adding that Parkinson plans to return to Paris in the future.
“This does not in any way affect her feelings about Islam. She loves Muslims, she has genuine good relationships with Muslim friends, and she said that what ISIS want you to do is hate and vilify and persecute Muslims. She refuses to do that.”
This is why I so admire Emma Grace Parkinson: She has a sense of right and wrong, something the wingnuts and cowards who mock Muslims and scorn Syrian refugees lack. She is calling upon us to hold fast to love and compassion in the face of terror, to say no to hate and no to bigotry. It’s a lesson so many of us need to learn.
That corny old bumper sticker is right: we must Coexist. We must remember that the extremists, the haters, the fundamentalists in this world are outnumbered by men and women of decency and peace and rationality and tolerance. We must never forget that hatred can never bring peace: only love and justice can.
Emma Parkinson is not the only human being in this world with a wise mind, joyous spirit and open heart. There are billions of Emma Parkinsons all around the world. They are Christian and Muslim and Jewish and atheist. They are male and female, straight and gay and bisexual and transgender, of every color and creed. They represent the best of the human race, its unbreakable spirit, its resilient soul.
There is beauty and majesty and, yes, grace in this world. It cannot be conquered by terror. It will not be defeated by hate.
Special thanks to Carole King, whose 1973 song “Believe in Humanity” inspired this series.