Blowing Up The IS Narrative
America has an opportunity to show the Muslim world some love. We can try to heal some wounds. We can try to win hearts and minds by practicing Christian kindness. Or not…
I know, I know…there are a whole lot of people out there feeling no love right now for anyone practicing Islam. That is because they have believed the proclamations of the terrorists. They claim to represent ISLAM. But don’t believe them. The IS is no more Muslim than Timothy McVeigh was Christian. It’s that simple. We are not dealing with radical Islamists. We are dealing with radical hatred.
The hundreds of thousands of people who are seeking refuge from the war that is destroying their homeland in Syria are primarily Muslim. They are searching for a place free from war and hatred and violence. They are so sick and tired of war that they are risking the lives of their babies to escape to a place–anyplace–where they can find peace. Think about that. They are exposing their babies to a cold hard existence and to the possibility of a cold hard death at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, in order to escape the IS. Can you imagine being that desperate? Probably not because we are living in a priviledged part of the world in a country with incredible freedoms and democratic practices that make our lives a total cake walk in comparison. But that shouldn’t keep us from feeling empathy and showing compassion to them.
The Refugees represent an opportunity for us to do the right thing. Or not. We can close our doors to them. We can close our hearts to them. We can rant and rave against their religion because there are monsters out there who identify themselves with that religion and pervert the precepts of Islam to justify their hateful behavior. But we would be wrong. It would be like the whole world turning against Christians because of the warped acts of White Supremecists and Neo-Nazis, who love to identify themselves with Christianity. It’s that wrong.
The Refugees could become our biggest Muslim Allies. Or we can push them back in the direction of those whom they are trying desperately to escape. We can open our borders to them. We can open our hearts to them. We can act like the Christians so many of us claim to be. Or we can let fear prevent us from doing the right thing. We can refuse to act with compassion. We can hate. We can fear. Fear is a terrible motivator. Love is the perfect one. Perfect love casts out fear. I hope we act in faith and not fear.
Or we can lump the refugees in with the enemies, failing to recognize them as victims of the IS too. We can hang our heads and wag our tongues for the suffering the IS has caused us and our European compatriots, and at the same time ignore the suffering they are wrecking on the Muslim world. I for one do not consider the refugees the enemy. I consider them the unfortunate ones, the victims, the poor, the sick, the tired masses. And like the inscription on Lady Liberty, I believe we should offer them refuge.
To turn away the refugees plays into the hands of ISIL. It is just what they would love us to do. It is what they expect us to do. It would confirm to them in their fanatical anti-Western minds that we are the infidels they accuse us of being.
To respond with love to the refugees blows the wind out of ISIL’s sails. It deflates their narrative. It destroys their argument. It shows the refugees that we are not the enemy.
It won’t be easy. There are risks involved. It is something we should do with caution. But it is something we should do. If we want to win this war.
“But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” 1 Peter 3:14