When fascist dictators throughout the history of the world have committed catastrophic mass murders and genocide against a race, religion or ethnicity, shocking the consciousness of humanity, we have come together as a global community to eradicate and destroy them, the enemy. One notable example of such global cooperation is Adolf Hitler. It was only when the world came together that Hitler was defeated.
The creation of the fanatical world that ISIS is publicizing is parallel to that of the fantasy Aryan world of Hitler. Hitler, like ISIS, held many crazed beliefs, which involved God and providence as well as ideological politics. He, like ISIS leaders, spoke of God, fanaticism and idealism, and he demonstrated a strong faith in all of his convictions. He justified his fight for the German people and against the Jewish people by using godly and biblical reasoning.
Indeed, one of his most revealing statements is: “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: By defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” (Mein Kempf)
Hitler eliminated anyone who did not adhere to his pathological view of the superiority of a pure Aryan race. ISIS, too, destroys and kills everyone who does not promote its agenda.
In some respects, the AIDS epidemic can be compared with the ISIS crisis we now face.
When the disease first appeared on the world front, it was not talked about, nor was it addressed in a manner approaching a united effort. The primary victims, homosexual individuals, were blamed for their illness and for introducing a deadly disease into the mainstream.
It was only after the world came together, sharing its collective knowledge and developing a unifying strategy to battle the disease, that we as a global community were able to fight the disease in a way that was effective.
So, too, we must view ISIS as a disease. We must come together as a global community and strategize the most effective way to destroy this disease. We must remember that out of a billion Muslims worldwide, a very small fraction have become terrorists, and we must seek a manner to address this disease from the stronghold of unity.
The Muslim community views ISIS as its No. 1 enemy, because ISIS distorts the truth of Islam and uses fear and death to change the global perception of the Muslim religion and Muslim people. Neighbors look to each other with suspicion in the face of everyday activities. The sad truth is that the tactics employed by ISIS are working, and Muslims suffer for it. We must remember that only if we stand together in the face of such terror, can we make a difference in the war against ISIS.
Terrorism can be effective on many fronts. Thus our global approach must account for these results. An effective approach to destroying ISIS must be multifaceted. The world community must stand against the increased negativity directed at Muslims, which results simply because some radicalized Muslims commit acts of terror. This attitude – displayed in the media, in our governments and in our individual communities – fails to make any of us safer and, in fact, contributes to the disenfranchisement of the Muslims in our community.
The end result is that disenfranchised Muslims are at a higher risk of successful recruitment to ISIS and other terrorist organizations, because young, alienated people are the most easily exploited and recruited to their cause.
ISIS regularly cites the Quran to justify its brutal actions against humanity. The vast majority of ISIS’ hired guns are young men who are born Muslims but do not intimately know the religion or the Quran at all. The ISIS thrust is aimed at power and control through political and religious reasoning.
ISIS uses “the religion” (as Ayatollah Khomeini did in Iran’s revolution of 1979) as a unifying reason for the uneducated underclass, who are generally very impressionable young men from politically corrupt Muslim countries. These men do not have much to lose, but they gain a sense of belonging to a group, which works as a powerful force in their lives.
With the ISIS invasion of Iraq, the lucrative revenue from the oil refineries has fallen into the hands of ISIS. As a result, it is able to hire young male Muslims with the promise and delivery of money. These young men are also given kidnapped young Muslim and Yazidi girls as wives and sex slaves. Young women are thrown in as incentives for sex-hungry boys, most of whom have likely never had any previous contact with girls.
The tactics of attracting and hiring this age group are the same as those used by gangs, the Mafia and religious groups looking to increase membership. These age groups are easily brainwashed on the promises of “social justice” and the immediate satisfaction of being provided with money and women.
ISIS talks about “The State of Islam” just as Hitler talked about Germany. What ISIS means by creating an Islamic State “caliphate” is very different from what was the Islamic State, otherwise known as “The Golden Age of Islam,” which began in the eighth century and fostered progressive achievements in science and philosophy.
Gaston Wiet, the French Middle East scholar, wrote in his landmark history, “Baghdad: Metropolis of the Abbasid Caliphate,” that as early as the 10th century, Baghdad, the capital of the caliphate, was “the intellectual center of the world.” Wiet closes his paper with the conclusion that “Great admiration should be expressed for this civilization born in Baghdad. In this center of universal culture were found polite manners, refinement, general education and the confrontation of religious and philosophical thought, which made the Mesopotamian city the queen of the world during that period.”
But ISIS has borrowed only the name, and nothing more, of the Islamic State. It is just another brutal and corrupt government, a group of thugs with a political agenda completely incompatible with the meaning of true Islam being practiced by true believers. ISIS puts forth a pathological interpretation of Islam, which is at odds with the philosophies of the historical caliphs, said Leila Hudson, an associate professor at the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona.
Centuries ago, William Shakespeare said so correctly:
“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!”
Shakespeare’s words hold true today.
Nadia Shahram is a mediation attorney practicing in Williamsville.