Coming to terms with the reality of what is and motivates ISIS

Nov 23, 2015 Published under Middle East, Religion

For years I’ve advocated and explained that terrorist groups like Al Qaeda or ISIS do not represent true Islam, and that they try to hijack a religion of peace in the name of their deformed inhumane extremist ideology. I explain that it would play into their strategy to deem Islam itself as the problem, and to foment a division among religions. I’ve always explained our task is to empower moderates in all societies, including Muslim leaders, that can be role models to their people.  I still believe that the key is to empower moderates everywhere so they seize back the agenda from forces of violent absolutism that are otherwise going to drag civilization into the dark ages.  That said, listening to the attached video also makes me confront a troubling reality that we cannot escape.  It is important for all of us, including heads of state and religious leaders, particularly Islamic leaders, to acknowledge the source of this fundamentalism and confront it head on.  So long as we turn a blind eye to those who teach hatred and fund extremist education, we will never really be able to turn the page of terror.  We cannot beat terror purely with force.  Force is necessary to defeat those who threaten us. But education that highlights our shared values and shared human fate is even more important as the only long term solution to overcome fatalistic ideologies such as that of ISIS.  Every religious leader and head of state and civic leader – whether Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, or other – needs to actively work to discourage their religion and their national pride from being misused to dehumanize the other.  Educating children to recognize what we all have in common – what brings us all together, what binds our fate as the human race, and the empathy that we need to find towards one another – is the only true long term antidote to terrorism.


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