In light of the tragic events over the past few days in Paris and Beirut, it may seem like the sensible option is to stay at home where it feels safe. The trouble with this is it won’t help to bring harmony to our neighbourhoods or our world.

Terrorist attacks are all about spreading fear. These attacks not only take innocent lives, but they create in the community a groundswell of fear of people who are the same religion or nationality as the perpetrators.

The lady wearing the hijab doing her grocery shopping, the man named Mohammed working at the bank, and the teenage Muslim boy playing soccer in the park do not deserve your fear or your hatred. They have done nothing wrong and they too are horrified by these attacks.

Nothing good can ever come from fear and misunderstanding.

The comforting thing is that each one of us can play a part in bringing peace and understanding to the world. We can make a difference by personally connecting with cultures that see the world differently and by breaking down the barriers of misunderstanding that are causing such hatred and fear.

Education plays a vital role in bringing peace to the world and every generation can play a part in the solution. Travel with your children to Europe, Asia and the Middle East, or to more diverse neighbourhoods in your own city, to gain an understanding of different ways of life. Go to the library and visit a local mosque so you can teach your children to appreciate the differences in cultures and religions.

As in all religions and races, the overwhelming majority of Muslims are good people. Unfortunately, there will always be a very small minority of people of various religions and races who want to dominate through terror and the taking of innocent lives.

You don’t have to agree with how anyone else lives their life. What is important is that we respect each other’s differences and are open-minded enough to stand together with all those, no matter what their faith, who want peace.

When terror strikes, hold your loved ones that bit tighter and then stand tall and embrace the differences that make this world great.

While we believe it is essential to keep travelling, it is important that you check the security of any country before you leave home. Visit www.smarttraveller.gov.au or contact the relevant government department in your country.

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