Unless something is done, these terrorists will eventually gain access to weapons of mass destruction, placing millions of lives at risk. Governments are taking extraordinary actions to try and prevent terrorist attacks. Billions are spent on defense and Homeland Security, and yet not a penny is spent to address the cause of almost every conflict on earth religious extremism.
The solution to terrorism, religious extremists and world conflicts is in our hands today. Governments cannot do it alone; they need the religious of the world to be active collaborators to eliminate this blight. It is time that we call upon the leaders of the world's religions to become loud and continuous allies in the battle against those who have risen up from within their own ranks to wage war on humanity, not leaving it up to governments alone to respond to the disastrous effects. Religious leaders must loudly condemn these violations of religious doctrine to their own members, to members of other religions, and to the secular public. It must be clearly known and understood that persons who have used the holy name of religion for violence and death are universally condemned by the religions whose name they have sullied and mocked. The Internet and email are powerful communication tools and should be used along with our traditional print media, radio and television, as well as billboards and leaflets.
It is the duty of the secular and the non-believing among us to use their influence and power in numbers to influence the religious leaders to openly condemn acts of violence. Though this conflict is rooted in religious peoples, the secular also have a role in preventing further bloodshed. Ultimately, all will suffer from a worldwide conflict which all had the power to prevent.
It is not always easy to speak out. The fear of offending others or being misunderstood and misquoted in the media is great. The truly faithful leaders must not allow their fear of offending others to stand in the way of promoting the true universal religious message, which protects life and forbids murder and suicide. To be effective, this message must reach those within the religion and outside it, thus forging a unity among their own members, along with other religiously inspired persons and members of secular society, with the result that the zealots are cut off as the cancer that they are.
The ultimate cure, however, must come from religious authorities who loudly correct the deliberate misquotes and interpretation of the holy books and prophetic language which the extremists have defiled in order to achieve their evil agendas. Many religious leaders are quick to speak out to condemn or commend political entities and the actions of sovereign nations, but are remarkably remain silent when a blatant offense against the universal message of religion is committed. Political commentary and rhetoric by the leaders in our houses of worship must include the condemnation of evil acts.
The misguided who are fooled into following false prophets can be reached with the truth, but will only accept that truth when it comes from their religious brethren, not from governments. Throughout history, religiously motivated violence has been tolerated by far too many of us, leading to far too many tragedies. For the first time in history, a new strategy that will work is feasible: Rally the forces of good, religious and secular alike, to come together to stop the violence created by rogue individuals who manipulate others into violence, while falsely using the name of religion simply to advance their own personal agendas.