Egyptian massacre shows us that people of all faiths must unite against the evil of terrorism

Terrorist attacks are happening with such mind-numbing regularity that even Friday’s barbaric bombing and machine-gunning of hundreds of Muslims at prayer at an Egyptian mosque seems like just one more in a long line of tragedies – almost a normal part of modern life. We are becoming desensitized to mass murder.

The crushing of our collective voice of moral outrage into a mere whisper represents a huge victory for Islamist terrorists. They continue to justify such horrible attacks against their fellow Muslims – as well as attacks against Christians and Jews at prayer all over the world – in God’s name.

This is a perversion of religion. God did not create us in his image to become mass murderers, and does not want us to glorify him with the blood of innocents. 

We are witnessing the decimation of fundamental norms of civilization by cold-blooded killers who continue to market their culture of death through social media and by invoking Islamist theologians.

We can only prevail over Islamist terrorism if leaders of all faiths take the lead in openly and consistently denouncing the murderers who use God’s name to justify their evil and immoral agenda.

We can only prevail over Islamist terrorism if leaders of all faiths take the lead in openly and consistently denouncing the murderers who use God’s name to justify their evil and immoral agenda.

There are important voices in the Muslim world, including in the world’s largest Muslim country, Indonesia, who are already taking up this challenge.

Recently, King Hamad of Bahrain authored a declaration denouncing religious extremism and emphasizing the right of everyone to pray – or not pray – in the way they alone choose.

In Azerbaijan, in the main mosque in Baku – the capital of the nation where 96 percent of the population is Muslim – Sunni and Shia Muslims pray together in peace and mutual respect. This is a rarity in the Muslim world, where Sunnis and Shias too often treat each other as enemies.

The rest of us – starting with President Trump – should acknowledge those Muslim leaders who get it right, and do everything in our power to support their efforts to encourage peaceful coexistence with people of all faiths. We don’t have to be identical twins and hold the same beliefs about God to treat each other as brothers and sisters. 

Many of us have the bully pulpit in houses of prayer. We have the obligation to raise our voices in prayer, moral indignation and calls for action.

Beyond his provocative tweets, President Trump must also take action against those who weaken the global struggle to defeat the jihadis.

Especially enraging was the recent decision by Pakistan to release Hafiz Saeed, who is linked to the infamous Mumbai Massacre in India 2008.

I led the interfaith memorial service in Mumbai that remembered the innocent victims at the railway station and the Taj Hotel. We remembered the wonderful Chabad rabbi, his wife and four other Jews butchered at the Chabad House by terrorists trained and dispatched from Pakistan. God did not bless these murders.

As if we needed more proof that Pakistan is more a foe than a friend of America when it comes to terrorism.

The terrorists and their global support network are counting on our apathy, silence and ultimate acquiescence. Our military can kill them on the battlefield. But the rest of us – led by religious leaders of all faiths – must engage and defeat them in the Houses of God where we pray with the most powerful ammunition of all – our love for humankind.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is Associate Dean, Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. Follow the Simon Wiesenthal Center on Facebook and on Twitter