ISIS Intends To Radicalize Us All: And If We Let Them They Win

ISIS Intends To Radicalize Us All: And If We Let Them They Win

by Dr. David Liepert

Last week, when I heard US VP Joe Biden’s promise to “follow ISIS to the gates of hell!” I couldn’t help cheering the image of “Bull Balls” Biden stripping down to his tighty whitey’s and unleashing his old-man strength on the scourge of extremist Islam…except that’s exactly what ISIS wants: Muhammad foretold the day that demons masquerading as Arab Muslims would come, bent on violently luring believers of every faith to and through the gates of hell.

I grew up Christian in the days of the Jesus freaks, dedicated to showing God’s love by caring for everyone, like Jesus did, at a time when every human rights organization in the world had Jewish roots and founders, and Muslims throughout the world were renown for Abraham’s homey hospitality.

I lived in the multicultural Canada of Lester B. Pearson, whose Nobel Peace Prize came for inventing the peace-keeping force (when Great Britain, France and Israel attacked Egypt, and Russia threatened nuclear retaliation), in a world remade by the Marshall plan, for which General Marshall received a Nobel Peace Prize of his own. Marshall somehow understood that sustainable peace required hope, economic stability and security for everyone. Other generals might have ended WW2 by beating the Nazis, but General George Marshall was the one who won it, by winning it for everyone.

We were a society of peacemakers, led by peacemakers, and both faith and politics seemed on the cusp of crafting a better world for everyone, the dawning of the Age of Aquarius just a few days away.

Now, I live on a shrinking planet led by small minded men who can only win peace by taking it away from someone—peacetakers, not makers—a world where evangelical Christians declare God’s singular love reserved only for only those who believe like them, with Judaism fixated on defending Israel’s right to restrict human rights to a chosen few, and Muslims bent on burning the world.

This because we have all—regardless of our faiths, philosophies or politics—bought into the radical idea that it is possible to make the world a better place for most of us just by killing or destroying some of the rest of us.

We just sometimes disagree about who.

There can’t be any more radical or destructive idea than that crazy one, that risks our earth’s destruction, and yes it’s true that al Qaeda and ISIS proudly claim the blame. However, the solution is a straight-forward one, simply remembering our better selves for the sake of our shared humanity and letting them rule us instead.

I’m often asked (particularly today, with some converts committing such heinous atrocities) why I went from Jesus’ Christianity to Muhammad’s Islam, and the simple truth is that to me they are one and the same. I have studied everything, and realized that God speaks truth through every pathway. Judaism’s covenant is about sharing the gift of God’s benevolence, while Christianity’s new one is about a changed relationship helping us share God’s compassion. Hinduism seeks the gift of good judgment, and Buddhism truly is about finding the gift of contentment, seeking a faith so respectful of our Creator, and so fearful of religion’s dark-side—the urge to attempt God’s manipulation—that they left God out of it.

While what inspired me to Islam was that Muhammad fought against oppression in God’s name for all our sakes, and the world he died for, the world he and his first and best followers finally won, was a world with religious freedom and egalitarian justice for all.

He didn’t impose Islam. In fact, he even welcomed diverse worship into his Mosque, and discussed faith and religion respectfully with everyone.

Because the Qur’an declared God made us different to make us celebrate diversity Muhammad’s Charter made a place for everyone—believer and non-believer alike—and he promised that his true followers would protect the freedoms of everyone, because he knew he was right, so he didn’t fret about proving it.

The peace of Islam—Salaam—was shared by everyone willing to share peace together, because just like Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Siddharta and Arjuna before him, Muhammad fought for a just, multicultural society.  He fought for Pearson’s Canada.  He fought for Marshall’s America.

So what should we do about ISIS?

ISIS are Islam’s Nazis, and like them they must be defeated. However, we can’t allow them to make us become like them, seeking only a violent victory, not if we want to win. In Canada, our Muslim leaders have declared en-masse that ISIS and those like them a deviant group that must be opposed by all, but what unites us as Canadians is our drive to empower our communities and our youth to make a positive difference in the world, by promoting Canadian multiculturalism as an Islamic ideal first seen in Muhammad’s Medina, and by seeking God’s distributive justice, because vengeance belongs to God alone.

To truly defeat ISIS, we must remember the true lessons of history, the best deeds of our most inspirational leaders, and the golden rule shared by all our faiths, that no one is truly righteous until they want for their neighbor what they want for themselves.

Rather than peacetakers, we must become peacemakers once again.

Because the path to a better world can only be walked if we walk it together.

SEE ALSO:  Muslim Organizations & Scholars Condemn ISIS