Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How We Beat ISIS

As well-intentioned as we may be, it's not our place as non-Muslims to declare what is Islamic or un-Islamic. If you aren't a practicing or devout Muslim, or at least well-versed and well-studied on the Koran and associated written works, you cannot condemn Daesh or any militant jihadists as un-Islamic. In the same way that we couldn't take the doctrinal critique of Pope Francis's Encylical from someone who was not raised or educated in the Catholic faith. Now, we can present our viewpoints as outsiders and form opinions of our own, but critiquing finer points of the nature of Daesh's Islamic doctrine is not our place.

I think as members of the Western world, our place is to demonstrate and live up to the ideals we espouse: that secular democracy is a system that works, that cooperation across race, religion, social and economic status is the better alternative to radical violence and militancy. Unlike France, Germany, or other countries within the Western sphere, we lack the centuries-long history and common culture as a foundation for our country's identity. What we have instead is a set of ideals, established by folks who believed we could build something great here. Those ideals have proved their resilience, they have stood the test of time, and I firmly believe that if we continue to strive to live up and prove that, yes, THIS democratic, pluralistic, secular, cooperative culture exists, it will continue to exist.