Search For A Scapegoat Is The Easiest Of All Hunting Expeditions.”
It’s a stalemate
that’s caused a lot of grief, pandemonium and too many unjustified deaths. It’s
a stalemate powered by atrocities and a lack of perspective on both sides. It’s
a stalemate that is, unsurprisingly, prolonged and augmented by politics.
about no other stalemate than that between the United States and the adherents
of radical Islam. In the United States, we know those people right now as ISIS,
but they’re also al-Qaida, Hamas, Boko Haram and al-Shabab.
distinction I’ve made here is very important. With the recent attacks in
Brussels that claimed the lives of at least 35 people and wounded 300 more, as
well as Paris, Charlie Hebdo and all the other tragic attacks before them, the
line between “radicals” and “Islam” seems to get blurred. In our anger and
frustration to make sense of the chaos, it’s common to scapegoat all of Islam
and its 1.6 billion adherents for the actions of a loud, angry few, simply
because it supplies an easy answer for our questions.
For some, I
know I must sound like a broken record. You’ve most likely heard so many people
talk about this before, but that does not make it any less important. The
majority of Muslims in the United States and around the world disapprove of
terrorists, and the larger Muslim community often issues Fatwas (religious
edicts) that condemn suicide bombings, the killing of civilians and other acts
important to separate fact from the fiction you may hear from politicians,
biased news programs or even your next-door neighbour. Around 7 percent of the
1.6 billion Muslims in the world are considered radical according to multiple
news sources. And according to a 2014 report by CNN national security analyst
Peter Bergen, of that 7 percent, only between 0.00076 percent and 0.00095 percent
(85,000 to 106,000 people) take radical actions.
we’ve seen much bigger threats: During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and
Warsaw Pact countries could assemble a ready force of 6 million troops to
attack the West. Also, the vast majority of these extremists are primarily
focused on local affairs in their countries instead of actively conspiring
against the United States or Europe.
If not all
Muslims are the problem, then one might say, “There has to be something
inherent to the religion that makes Muslims so likely to commit acts of
terror.” But this is not true, either. Islam is actually a religion of peace.
One of the Prophet Muhammad’s most important goals in revealing the Quran was
to end the kind of bloodshed that Islamic terrorists commit today, as that
bloodshed was rampant all throughout pre-Islamic Arabia. Essentially, Muhammad
brought peace to the previously war-torn Arabian Peninsula single-handedly,
and he did so through a campaign of nonviolence and the creation of a peaceful
coalition of tribes.
verses of the Quran deal with war, the onlywars
permitted by the Quran are ones of self-defence. The Quran considers war to be
evil, but sometimes necessary
to prevent persecution or maintain decent values.
author Karen Armstrong explained how the Quran condemns spreading Islam through
violence in an article for Time following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, writing,
"The Quran insists, 'There must be no coercion in matters of faith!' (2:
256). Constantly Muslims are enjoined to respect Jews and Christians, the
'People of the Book,' who worship the same God. (29: 46)."
misunderstood definition of “jihad” is another common justification used by
Islamic terrorists; however, “jihad” is not a true pillar of Islam and its
foremost meaning is “struggle,” not “holy war.”
wrote how jihad “refers to the difficult effort that is needed to put God's
will into practice at every level — personal and social as well as
important quote from Muhammad shared throughout the Muslim community is when he
and his followers return from a battle and he says, “We are returning from the
lesser jihad (the battle) to the greater jihad.”
wealth of history on this topic, and there are aspects I haven’t even covered,
such as the fundamentalist rise across all religions as they attempt to stay
relevant in a world that is becoming more and more secular. Islamic
fundamentalism appears to be the most impassioned of these, and understanding
what Islam truly is versus its narrow-minded radical interpretations shows
Islamic terrorism for what it truly is: a gross misrepresentation of an
otherwise ordinary religion that has historically seen as much violence,
corruption and other vile acts as Christianity, Judaism or most other major
peaceful people following a peaceful religion, and while there are
Muslims who sympathize with groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, such support
stems from their own
radical political beliefs and religious interpretations. But radical views are
not unique to Islam. Every country or faith’s people have radical beliefs; it
just so happens that in our modern world, the radicals who make the biggest
waves are Islamic terrorists.
al-Rashid, the managing director of the Arab news channel Al Arabiya, said in a
2004 editorial for BBC News where he attacked the radical perversion of Islam,
“It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally
certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims.”
imperative that we do not let tragedies like Paris or Brussels become skewed
into the fear-mongering and xenophobic propaganda they so often turn into. We
need to rise above that kind of simplistic and hateful thinking. It prevails
with the masses, sure, and as I said above, it quenches our aggravation in the
pursuit of answers, but it’s not that simple.
attacks in Brussels, Secretary of State John Kerry said about ISIS, “We will
not be intimidated, we will not be deterred, and we will come back with greater
resolve with greater strength and we will not rest until we have eliminated
your nihilistic beliefs and cowardice from the face of this Earth.”
something we should all wholeheartedly agree with. Let’s just make sure that
we’re waging that war against the right people.