The beheading of journalist James Foley by ISIS is yet another dark reminder of the capacity that some people have for inflicting incredible pain and suffering. Throughout history, we have witnessed abominable actions in the name of (place your choice here) to justify acts of terror by self-righteous groups who are bent on imposing their way. ISIS, whose members kill indiscriminately, is the latest iteration of this evil. ISIS claims to be driven by ideology and wants to establish a Caliphate to rule over “Muslim Land”. So far, they have acted with impunity and proven they will stop at nothing to get their way. But much like the lynching of people of color on our shores this past century was driven by blind hatred and could never be justified, there will never be any justification for James Foley’s slaughtering, ever. And much like the practice of lynching satisfied only the irrational views of those who committed them, the actions of ISIS satisfy only the irrational views of ISIS and not that of the larger Muslim population. ISIS gave three choices to the minorities in the land they now claim to control (Christians, Yazidis and others); leave, convert to Islam or be killed. They have dispossessed and massacred innocent people whose only fault was to have been born and to live in the same land. I am profoundly hurt and utterly disgusted by the horror and the pain so many, including Muslim, have endured at the hands of these terrorists. ISIS claims to be acting in the name of Islam. If this were true, they would heed what the Holy Qur’an preaches in (2:256) “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion” and they would stop persecuting those who choose a different path. Muslims around the world feel as threatened by the existence of ISIS as people of other faiths. I call on Muslims leaders in general, and those in the Middle East in particular, to wake up and join forces with the rest of the world to speak loudly and act decisively against ISIS until the group is defeated. I applaud the Grand Mufti of Egypt for stating unequivocally that ISIS “violates all Islamic principles and laws” and for describing “the group as a danger to Islam itself.” Members of ISIS are part of an international gang of thugs who use fear and intimidation to impose their way. ISIS’ claim to be acting on behalf of Islam or Muslims is a sham.
Board Chair of ICCF