Three attacks in one day in Saudi Arabia have put the entire international Muslim community in a sombre mood just two days before Eid. Successive attacks starting with Jeddah, near a Shia mosque in Qatif and at Masjid-i-Nabvi (PBUH) at a time when the mosques are crowded to the maximum tell the same chilling story; that the attackers will keep trying to harm anyone and everyone. Humanism has lost the battle against warped Islamist ideologies.

The rising incidence of attacks in places where they were few and far between is the constant pattern. No one has assumed responsibility for what happened in Saudi Arabia as of yet, which makes the situation all the more confusing. Saudi Arabia does not lack enemies and this should spell a change in global alignments against IS, Saudi Arabia’s role in Iraq, and its relations with Iran; all that have a deep sectarian dimension.

The fact should be clear that no religious organisation, that has the membership of man with a gun in his hand, should be tolerated, whether by Saudi Arabia, or here at home. That states have covertly funded them or used them as assets in the past is a shameful fact. If the terrorists can strike at the Prophet’s (PBUH) mosque, they can strike anywhere. They cannot be supported, or used as assets; they are out of control. There are many arguing for unity of the “ummah” in the face of this all-out attack and that sectarianism has to end. This is a worthy goal, but almost impossible to implement. We are too divided and too diverse to be able to turn this into a counter-terrorism tool.

What can happen is a reassertion of national sovereignty across the board - a state must protect its nation, laws are supreme, and all those who attempt to change already held laws by force are criminals. It does not matter if those laws are not in line with any version of sharia; they are sovereign and supreme. Ideology, whether of the IS, or the Taliban, or any other group that may not even be bearing arms, has no space to change a state’s constitution, unless through the route of the legally prescribed system. This does not mean that Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, or Afghanistan have to become secular or democratic, but that the sanctity of the “state” and its people must come before ideological concerns.

It is sad that it has come to this, and that the Islamic world has been beset on all sides by creations of their own. IS and its brethren were not born in isolation.

The symbolic gesture behind this act should not be missed by the Muslim community; no country or city is safe from the menace of terrorism, even the most sacred.