The terror attacks in Paris left people questioning how such a horrible incident could happen to a country that has a well-developed intelligence and military defense. Why did these terrorists attack the French capital? More importantly, beside praying for Paris, what should be done to restore peace not only in France but in the world in general?
The series of bombings and shootings in Paris on Friday resulted in 129 deaths, a number of injured people, and thousands of mourners. Officials have released pictures of Salah Abdeslam, 26, a Brussels-born man who is suspected to be one of the assailants who carried out the shootings and bombings in Paris.
ISIS took responsibility for the terror attacks, but why did they attack Paris?
There have been a number of assumptions as to why ISIS attacked the French capital. First, they have always targeted France but could not find the right opportunity to execute the plan in the past; and second, attacking the city will instill fear among powerful nations, thereby discouraging them from attacking the Islamic State.
Another theory says that global jihadists living out their religious crusade allegedly want to establish their name as the number one global jihad group. ISIS wants to drain powerful countries’ resources, create disorder, and create the illusion that they are the defender of the Muslims and/or perpetrators of the “End of Days.”
Another theory simply comes down to religion, one issue that continues to foster divisiveness among people.
In the wake of the Paris tragedy, people from different parts of the globe have poured out their love, support, and prayers for Paris on social media. In fact, 430 million interactions in the first 24 hours from the time of the attacks were created and over 200 countries participated. Jean Jullien’s “Peace for Paris” became the popular symbol of support, and it garnered 114 million views on Instagram.
#prayforparis was among the top trending hashtags people used to convey their support. Hashtags like #paris, #jesuisparis and #prayersforparis were also used.
Prayers have flooded social media but the Dalai Lama does not think praying for Paris will help. He echoes the same sentiments of Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Joann Sfar.
On his Instagram, Sfar shared a cartoon saying they do not need prayers right now.
“Friends from the whole world, thank you for #PrayforParis,” Sfar wrote thanking supporters. “But we don’t need more religion.”
“Our faith goes to Music! Kisses! Life! Champagne and Joy,” before adding the hashtag #ParisIsAboutLife. The Dalai Lama, too, encouraged people to be proactive in dealing with the tragedy. He told Deutsche Welle, a German broadcasting company that what is needed now is not prayers but action; since people caused these problems, it is only logical that we should work for peace.
“We cannot solve this problem only through prayers,” the Dalai Lama stated. “I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.”
He advised people to come up with a systematic approach to “foster humanistic values of oneness and harmony.”
Implying we do not need half-hearted prayers and “pray for Paris” posts from the virtual world, he continued, “So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments.”
Although he did not say people should not pray, he said much of the violence that happen today are the result of differences in nationalities and religious strife.
Faith without works is dead – that is what the Dalai wants to share. With all those Facebook filters and hashtags, what have we really accomplished to address the attacks?
[Image by Thomas Lohnes, Getty Images]