Recently ISIS released a video featuring former Canadian, 23-year-old John Maguire, now known as Abu Anwar Al-Canadi, demanding Muslim Canadians carry out terrorist attacks on Canadian soil.
The video comes as no surprise to ordinary peaceful Canadian Muslims. Though the scourge of ISIS must be extinguished, Canada is a target now, unfortunately, due to our military intervention. Military intervention, after all, is the kind most welcomed by ISIS. Their members want to die and want an excuse to kill. And such intervention unfortunately does not target what is most dangerous about ISIS -- its ideology and the tyrants who lead it.
Though interpretations of religion which fail to uphold universal human rights legitimize ISIS ideologies for men like Maguire, not all Canadian adherents of conservative interpretations of Islam wish to live in a violent dictatorship, bound by the most rigid shariah law. Yes -- there exist peaceful, conservative Muslims in Canada who love their country and reject ISIS.
The Canadian Muslim community -- fragmented, disorganized, vast and from a variety of cultures and schools of thought -- is repeatedly asked to deal with the roots of radicalization.
Part of the problem is that source of ISIS is political. ISIS is a cult. Its members are indoctrinated, in the end, by tyrants, seated at high levels in their own societies, a world away, who are working to take over large swaths of the Muslim world, without being held accountable to international law.
As Muslims, who love Canada, pluralism and peace, we do wish to deter others who are considering joining ISIS. Can we? Perhaps. After all, the condemnation of ISIS is virtually unanimous throughout the vast spectrum of the Canadian Muslim community. It means most Muslims in Canada would probably agree with us on this.
If you are a Canadian Muslim, considering joining ISIS, here are a list of sins you will commit if you do:
- You will murder the People of the Book, mainly Iraqi and Syrian Christians and others, without justification.
- You will destroy mosques, Sunni and Shia.
- You will remove people, Muslims, Christians and others, including those many consider "believers" from their homes and promote the exodus of innocent families from the region to refugee camps, where many suffer and some die, including seniors, children and pregnant women.
- You will act in contravention of the laws of your country, the nation of Canada.
- You will imitate the oppression perpetuated by the established tribes of Mecca, during the period of jahiliyya, against our Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It was as a result of such oppression that our Holy Prophet (pbuh) joined with Jews, Christians and pagans to stop such oppression, as our Iraqi and Syrian brothers and sisters, against ISIS, are doing now.
As well, many Muslim Canadians, including peaceful conservative ones, those you likely consider "strong" Muslims, will no longer consider you part of the Muslim Ummah. As a result of your expressed hatred for much of humankind, you will be considered a kufr, subjected to takfir.
Some may say such actions on the part of Muslim communities are not Islamic because takfirism unfortunately does exacerbate the problem. This is because in your exile from our communities, where you should remain to try and learn the beauty of an authentic Islam that teaches the remembrance of Allah and love for all of creation, you will be relegated to find friendship only with those who propagate hatred, violence and tyranny.
Finally, know this. You are being used by tyrants who only wish to expand their power and care nothing about Islam and Muslims. Some of the funders of your movement do not adhere to any of the practices of Islam which you believe to be obligatory upon Muslims. And they will kill as many Muslims as possible to achieve their ends. They will pit East against West, which they have done for many years now. They are no different from the extremist right wing western conservatives of other faiths who designate all Muslims as terrorists. The goals are the same.
And what's more -- your leaders have twisted Islam into a backward, hateful ideology that if it ever had actually been preached by our Holy Prophet (pbuh) could not have been practiced as a way of life for 14 centuries. What these kufr, you are following, will not do is spread the message of Islam that demands submission to Al Rahman (The Most Merciful) and Al Raheem (The Most Compassionate). Such words do not exist in their practice notwithstanding that they are the most prominent names of Allah. No. Instead, their tyranny will end Islam and it will be with your help.
May Allah judge where we differ. May Allah soften your heart and return you to the fold of the Ummah (which includes all of humanity), where you may learn to find peace and find ways to fight oppression that do not destroy humanity. May you remember the saying of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): "You will not reach paradise until you have faith. You will have no faith until you love one another."
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