Be wiseWhat we had feared most became a grim reality. One of the South Koreans kidnapped by Taliban militants in Afghanistan was found murdered Wednesday night. The Taliban kidnappers are saying that more killings will follow unless their demands are met. At one point, it was reported that eight South Koreans were released, but now the government confirms that they are still being held.
Korean Pastor Bae Hyung-kyu was killed, his body riddled with 10 bullet holes in the head, chest and stomach. Pastor Bae ran a great risk when he went to a country far from home that is embroiled in a civil war. He led volunteer workers who came to provide assistance to the Afghan people to ease their hardship and suffering. He did not deserve to be killed, and there is no way to justify killing him in such a brutal way.
Having a different religion cannot be a reason for murder. That is against the principles of Islam, which emphasize peace and tolerance. Such acts are against the Pashtun tribesmen’s own teachings to welcome strangers.
Koreans are upset, shocked and saddened by news of this killing,but we must not respond emotionally. What is most important now is to save the rest of the hostages, whose lives are hanging by a thread.
We must trust our government and support it. We believe that the government is doing its utmost despite all kinds of difficulties to make sure the hostages return home safely. We cannot resolve this crisis alone. We must work together with the Afghan government, our allies and Islamic countries. And we must be wise and competent in order to produce the best result.
Cooperation with the United States is crucial. We understand that the United States is in a difficult situation because its principle is not to negotiate with terrorists. But we hope that the United States will understand that Korea, its ally, is going through tremendous hardship. The United States should display flexibility and support the Korean government to resolve the hostage crisis.
This crisis is more than a matter of a simple crime. This is about religion and civilization. It is meaningless to try to spread religious convictions while killing innocent civilians in a brutal way. If the Taliban militants who cry out for fundamental Islam are Muslims in the truest sense, they must release the hostages immediately.
If the Taliban kill more hostages, that will bring an even bigger reaction and they will need to pay a heavy price. The Taliban kidnappers must listen to the voice of conscience and civilization in international society.
We strongly urge the majority of Muslims, who love peace and do not want conflict, to step forward and take an active part in resolving this crisis.