As pundits, talking heads and opportunistic politicians rush to cash in on the horrific terror attacks that have rocked France recently, it is important to remember that knee-jerk nationalism is no solution either. The rise of racism and xenophobia should be troubling to everyone.

The French far right has pounced on the shocking Charlie Hebdo and kosher market attacks hoping to prey upon the fears of French citizens.

Conveniently left out is that a Muslim police officer, Ahmed Mechabat, died trying to stop the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo while Muslim immigrant Lasanna Bathily risked his life to hide Jewish shoppers in a walk-in cooler during the anti-Semitic attack on the market in which he worked.

Marches against Islamic immigrants take place regularly in economically struggling East German cities.

Assaults, arson and harassment of minorities and immigrants are on the rise throughout Europe while far-right parties make political hay.

The seeds of misplaced anger and scapegoating can grow into shocking violence.

The most deadly terror attack on European soil in the last decade was carried out not by Islamic jihadists but by Anders Breivik, a Norwegian Christian terrorist whose manifesto preached against multiculturalism, Marxism and Islam. Sound familiar?

Breivik, found to be sane and of above-average intelligence, massacred 77 people, most of them helpless teenagers, all in the name of “defending” his beloved Norway.

Embracing one kind of toxic ideology in order to stand against another kind of toxic ideology is not a choice civilized people should have to make.

Jeremy Smith

Old Orchard Beach