Let’s Start the Argument!
By Reza Safa
Once again our news is flooded with the images of bomb squad vehicles, ambulances, police vehicles, the injured, and the dead. Last week marked yet another terrorist attack, this time, in Brussels, the Capital of the European Union.
What is going on? Is this becoming the new norm in the 21st Century? Radical Islamic terrorism is becoming a part of our daily jargon! Are we supposed to put up with these attacks, going through the same routine every few months? Unfortunately the answer is a resounding yes!! As long as groups like ISIS exist, which they do, (there are about two hundreds active radical Islamic terrorist groups), then we will face the reality of radical Islamic terrorism!
We must keep in mind that the recent perpetrators of the attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, and Brussels were not foreigners, but rather, young ISIS-inspired domestic Muslims!
It is evident that ISIS has a new strategy in recruiting Muslims raised domestically, in Europe, Australia, and North America. In France for example, ISIS has a potential recruiting pool of 5 million residents of Muslim descent (2007 Brookings Institution book, Integrating Islam, p.15). That constitutes 7.8% of France’s population, making Islam the second largest religion, following Catholicism! I think France has a long road ahead of dealing with radical Islam!
The question is, how does the recruiting take place? What is the process by which a nominal Muslim, your every day guy or girl, converts into a killing machine for ISIS?
I, myself, grew up in a very religious home in Iran. My father was a Muslim scholar and a writer. In 1978, right before the Islamic revolution, I came to America as a student not knowing anyone. The second day of my arrival, I registered at the university in Houston. That day, I was recruited by an Iranian radical Muslim group known as the Student Islamic Movement. I was housed and taken care of while I lived in Houston for the next 8 months. At that time the common denominator that attracted young Muslims, like myself, to a radical group was the opposition against a tyrant, the Shah of Iran!
Although some elements of that recruiting philosophy still exist in places, such as Syria and Iraq, the picture has become much bigger. Today, it is more than a fight against a dictator like Assad’s regime – it is a “DAWA” – a call to Jihad! The call to the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate – the bringing of the rule of Allah on the earth!
As long as radical Islamic groups such as ISIS have a safe haven from where they are jihading against the West, the recruiting of young Muslims will be common! The Western governments do not have the resources, or the will power, to eliminate the radicalization of our Muslim youth! We maybe able to slow the process by a whole bunch of actions that may not be constitutional – but we are unable stop it!
A New Phase
The war against radical Islam has entered a new phase in our world today that requires more than just military action. The complicity of the Middle East’s geopolitical map, the Arab Spring, the Sunni and Shi’ite warfare, the expansion of Islamic centers throughout Europe and North America, and the floods of Muslim immigrants to the Western world have all made the theatre of war much bigger than any one of us could have imagined. I personally believe that we have entered into the era of the 9th Crusade – but this crusade must be about Islamic philosophy and teachings versus Western values!
So, what do we do? We must understand that we cannot win the war against radical Islam only on a military front! To win the war against radical Islamic movements, we must wage the war on an ideological front, as well. We must challenge and argue the heck out of the following ideas within Islam, that:
- Islam is the final religion,
- Mohammad is the last of the prophets,
- Islam is the only path to God,
- Non-Muslims are Kaffirs (infidels) and must be converted to Islam or killed,
- Christians and Jews are polytheists and must convert to Islam!
Most ISIS recruits are not radical Muslims. Most of the young people that have traveled to Syria to join ISIS from the West are born and raised in a nominal Muslim family. Their minds and their beliefs are not yet cemented. They need to hear that there are other options than dying and killing others for the cause of Allah!
I did. Christianity changed my heart of hatred. From an enemy, I became a friend and a protector. I have seen that happen to tens of thousands of Muslims who have converted to the Christian faith!
Let us get off our high horses of a politically correct mindset and let us deal with this giant of a problem in our time today, before it is too late!
Let’s start the argument!