Canada: Muslims have a role to play in defeating ISIS ideology

Canada’s decision to join the coalition to combat ISIS or the Islamic State by force and aerial bombings is understandable. They are an extremely dangerous set of people bent upon eliminating everyone and anyone who does not bow his head to their fanatical ideology. In addition to a few foreign journalists and social welfare workers, they have massacred thousands of Arab and Kurd Muslims throughout Iraq and Syria.

Source: montrealgazette.com

SANLIURFA, TURKEY -  OCTOBER 20:  (TURKEY OUT)   An explosion rocks Syrian city of Kobani during a reported suicide car bomb attack by the militants of Islamic State (ISIS) group on a People's Protection Unit (YPG) position in the city center of Kobani, as seen from the outskirts of Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, October 20, 2014 in Sanliurfa province, Turkey. According to Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey will reportedly allow Iraqi Kurdish fighters to cross the Syrian border to fight Islamic State (IS) militants in the Syrian city of Kobani while the United States has sent planes to drop weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Syrian Kurdish fighters around Kobani. (Photo by Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

SANLIURFA, TURKEY – OCTOBER 20: (TURKEY OUT) An explosion rocks Syrian city of Kobani during a reported suicide car bomb attack by the militants of Islamic State (ISIS) group on a People’s Protection Unit (YPG) position in the city center of Kobani, as seen from the outskirts of Suruc, on the Turkey-Syria border, October 20, 2014 in Sanliurfa province, Turkey. According to Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey will reportedly allow Iraqi Kurdish fighters to cross the Syrian border to fight Islamic State (IS) militants in the Syrian city of Kobani while the United States has sent planes to drop weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Syrian Kurdish fighters around Kobani. (Photo by Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

It is also a reality that many Muslim youth from Western countries, including Canada, have already joined ISIS to fight their battle for dominance over Iraq and Syria. ISIS has also released videos and used social media to try to radicalize local Canadians to mobilize them for local attacks. We have seen two examples of such mobilization in Canada in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa this week.

To truly defeat and dismantle this poison of ISIS and its followers, it must be understood that ISIS is a spiritual and an ideological movement that can only be triumphed over by a superior form of Islam. No doubt that the aerial bombings and use of force will curb their ability to conquer more lands, but we Muslims in Canada and our leaders need to work with the authorities to combat the ideology of ISIS. It is incumbent upon us Muslims to defeat this narrative of extremism and hate with love, compassion and peaceful dialogue. This is necessary to completely uproot this ideology and to stop Muslim youth or new converts to Islam from falling prey to ISIS.

As an example, the Muslim community that I belong to, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, openly condemns the barbaric laws of imprisonment or death penalty for the crimes of apostasy or religious blasphemy. These are some of the fundamental grounds upon which groups like ISIS stand. I migrated to Canada in 2002 from Pakistan. Since then, I have been a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association of Canada. I have been taught this great saying of Prophet Muhammad: “Love of your country is part of your faith.” I have been imparted this wonderful message of Quran: “The repayment of goodness is nothing but goodness” and that I should always ponder over the wonderful opportunities Canada has granted me. This is the message being persistently given to the youth of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in more than 80 branches over Canada.

The bombardment and killing of ISIS fighters will only truly achieve success if Muslim leaders and the followers of the Islamic faith fail to counter their radical ideology with their own agenda of love, tolerance and promotion of a pluralistic society. We have to be loud and clear that the killing of citizens or soldiers of your own country can never be justified in Islam. Prophet Muhammad gave us a model of a moderate and a tolerant society. This is the message that needs to be received by Muslim youth and new converts out of every mosque and religious discussion. Today, we need a better and a superior form of Islam to defeat the extremist mindset that ISIS wants to impose. We need Muslim youth and converts to Islam to learn the same Islam that was practised by the Prophet Muhammad.

Luqman Ahmed is a religious scholar and member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Quebec City.

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