Editor’s Corner article
In our last edition, I suggested that Muslims raise their voices in unison to denounce the violence being perpetrated in the name of Islam. In December we saw a video from an angry young man from the Ottawa area who has embraced the violence of the “Islamic State” group, threatening more and sustained violence unless Canada ends its participation in attacks on ISIS targets. This tells me that Canada’s air strikes are having the intended disruptive effect.
“You have absolutely no right to live in a state of safety and security when your country is carrying out atrocities on our people,” he states, with no sign of emotion. “Waging jihad against the west and its allies around the world is […] a religious obligation, binding upon every Muslim,” he continues. “To the Muslims who are still residing in Canada, I say to you, how can you remain living amongst the disbelievers [...] You either pack your bags or you prepare your explosive devices. You either purchase your airline ticket or you sharpen your knife. You either come to the Islamic state and live under the laws of Allah, or you follow the example of brother ‘Ahmad’ Rouleau...” and kill on Canadian soil.
Will the Muslim community respond in unity against the so-called “Islamic State”? The name implies that the group represents all Muslims. Why not rise up against the wielding of their religion by hate-filled jihadists? Fear? Would Christians stand quietly by if the KKK decided to call themselves the “Christian Council”? They would not.
It was reassuring to hear representatives of both the University of Ottawa Muslim Students Association and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association appear on CTV to condemn the call to action that was articulated in that video. These public interviews are a very positive step. Muslims need to collectively build a stronger and consistent voice of disapproval. The “Stop the CrISIS” outreach program is a nation-wide Muslim campaign to combat the recruiting efforts of Islamic terrorist groups, and FrontLine applauds this effort. Standing up within your own religion is the ONLY voice these angry young men will possibly listen to – they certainly won’t listen to non-believers.
The web site of Muslims Against Terrorism says “... any attack on Canada and the United States is an attack on the freedom of Canadian and American Muslims.” However, some cannot help turning the focus back on us. While distraught that he does not have answers for the parents who cannot understand how their sons are being funded to join terrorist groups, Saskatoon Imam Syed Soharwardy admonishes that it is a “failure on the government side too.” Blaming the government? A cynic would say he has learned to manipulate Canadians very well. Calling for a government inquiry is not going to affect real change any time soon. Just as the anti-slavery movement required whites to stand against politicians and slave owners before change gained any real ground, anti-terrorism requires Muslims to stand up to jihadists if they truly want to foster peace.
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