The terrorist attacks that hit Paris over the weekend have shocked the globe, with the West reacting intensely in particular. France has called the attacks an "act of war" and its only aircraft carrier departed on Saturday for the Middle East to join the fight against the Islamic State.
The follow-up foments a strong atmosphere of the clash of civilizations. Although French President Francois Hollande opposed linking the attacks to the flow of migrants from the Middle East, fear of them is spreading fast, and so is discontent for Islam and Muslims.
Articles and posts accusing the Islamic world as backward, ignorant, paranoid and bellicose circulate on the Internet in different languages and some people call for firm fighting, which not only aims at terrorists, but more expansive targets.
The West's anti-terrorism campaign deserves support. But it's worth noting that some radical opinions indicate perils. Extreme forces only make up a tiny part of the 1.6 billion Muslims globally, fewer directly participate in attacks. Combating terrorism has to target terrorists precisely and can't be ideologically driven. Once the campaign is interpreted as countering Islamic civilization, the possible tumult and chaos can't be overestimated.
China particularly has to draw a clear boundary against radical prejudice toward Islam. Chinese civilization has always respected all cultures including Islam. We won't shake our long-cultivated friendliness with Islamic civilizations due to brutal attacks in Paris or some Muslim terrorists in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The world has developed in an uneven way. In the Islamic world, most countries seem to be abandoned by the times or face multiple difficulties that prevent them from becoming affluent. The real gap in the development of civilizations has fed extremism.
With attacks in Paris, terrorists intend to infuriate the West and make it strike back expansively, which will in turn grow Muslims' discontent into hatred of the West or even the world.
The anti-terrorism fight has to be both determined and rational to avoid facilitating a clash of civilizations. People across the world must be able to tell the majority kind Muslim from a small number of brutal terrorists. All countries will strengthen security following terror attacks in Paris, but these measures need to consider Muslims' feelings. Ordinary Muslims shouldn't be treated differently along the security-check line. The Muslim population should also actively participate in the anti-terrorist campaign, including adapting to the post-attack social atmosphere and the difficulties it may bring to them, so in this way, the social structure won't be severely impacted.
China also has a large Muslim population, but it is not at the forefront of the clash of civilizations. We hope the West can keep calm because we don't want to see the disastrous prediction come true. Meanwhile, we hope Chinese society keeps sober-minded and doesn't rush into the still chaotic situation. We are friends of all civilizations.