World in crisis
The Christmas festival celebrated by Christians around the world is once again being felt in just about every part of the globe. However, amid the glowing lights and carols, there is a growing concern that extremism, with groups who practise an ideology that most people reject, poses a serious threat to democracy and world peace.
Making the situation acutely complex is that much of the world is confused over the Isis group, which claims it wants an Islamic state with no other religious connections and that anyone who fails to comply with its rules could face execution as a part of its justice system.
The word “Islamic” is a part of the Muslim faith, but there are millions of Muslims who do not wish to be associated with evil objectives that they feel misrepresent what the Muslim faith is all about.
It is always a mistake to label any group racially, ethnically or religiously based on actions by those who defy common laws of decency and respect for human life in their quest to dominate and rule with no regard for freedom and justice.
Many Americans of Japanese descent were unfairly rounded up during the Second World War and placed in special camps for the duration of the war simply because it was felt by authorities that they could not be trusted.
Some families had relatives born in the United States serving with American forces, with many receiving citations for bravery on the field of battle.
Those soldiers were actually fighting for freedoms that had been taken from relatives back home mainly because they looked like the enemy.
After recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the United States and even Britain, Barack Obama addressed the nation to outline plans to combat what is becoming a nightmare, for not only America's way of life, but for countries globally.
He emphasised that when extremist groups are able to radicalise people to a point where they carry out acts of terror, without regard for their own lives, it presents a problem for world security.
The US president acknowledged that the San Bernardino massacre in California was a terrorist act and that the husband and wife who perpetrated the slaughter, which claimed 14 lives, had been radicalised by extremist ideology. One observer pointed out that it was most difficult detecting someone who has been radicalised in their basement. In other words, the lone wolf syndrome remains a threat everywhere.
The recent incident in Britain, where a man with a knife on the Underground slashed a few people before being brought down by London police with a stun gun, was heard to say he was doing it for Syria. Britain has joined the US and France in launching air attacks on Isis strongholds in Syria.
Although President Obama vowed to defeat the terrorists, calling them thugs and killers, many are uncertain how that will be accomplished without an all-out war both on the ground and from the air.
Bermudians love to travel to distant lands, which they have been doing for many years. These days travel involves being concerned about terrorists who could strike without notice and with no regard for who the victims are.
Anyone who chooses to ignore the new world crisis could place themselves at risk and, while travel should never be discouraged, the world today requires more awareness of potential danger spots.
President Obama once again called for tighter restrictions for gun ownership in America, citing flaws in a system that permits a suspected terrorist who has been placed on a no-fly list to legally purchase a weapon.
Another problem is that guns of all types are so plentiful in a land where the right to bear arms is held as supreme; many weapons wind up in the wrong hands, including those of people with mental issues.
Trying to solve that problem is like shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted many miles away. No easy answers there.
It should also be noted that heavily armed gangs have been terrorising parts of the US for years. We should never forget the nine-year-old boy who was recently executed because his father was a gang member. Another type of domestic terrorism.
There are many faces of terrorism, and all peace-loving nations must join hands to eradicate this threat before the world becomes hostage to the unthinkable.