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Scott Thompson: We are all in this together
March in Paris may be the first step in working as one in the war on terror

 

Hamilton Spectator

By Scott Thompson

 

Shortly after we rang in a new year with all the hopes and aspirations the occasion can bring, the optimism was quickly snatched away as the world witnessed the carnage unravel in France, providing a grim reality check of what our new world has become.

The civilized among us shook our heads in disbelief, horror and then disgust. Our right to freedom of speech and expression had led to a massacre, over a cartoon. The world was spinning out of control and the cause woven so deep into the fabric of a modern society (unlike other wars) it is almost impossible to detect the enemy until it is too late. We were scared.

That is exactly what terrorists try to do.

We wonder what possesses someone to commit such a heinous act in the name of a religion and we attempt to understand why. We question what Islam is all about, often using examples from the Qur'an, which most westerners know little about.

Being agnostic, I'm certainly no expert, but perhaps that gives me a neutral point of view. I think there is plenty of tragedy to go around if you dig deep enough into much darker times with all religions. Terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaida are trying to return us to those days and either you're in or you're out.

With 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, I think it safe to say the very great majority are "out."

Hussein Hamdani, who is vice-chair of the North American Spiritual Revival and one of the spokespersons for the Muslim Council of Greater Hamilton as well as a partner at law firm Simpson Wigle, said on CHML recently, "I'm sick and tired of people hijacking my religion for their own personal vendettas."

He insists this is not about religion. It's about power, control and land. Terrorists want a state based on their radical fundamentalism (not that of a mainstream Muslim) where they can breed their ideology and actively recruit to obtain their goal.

Hamdani reminds us these groups have killed more Muslims than anyone else. The terrorists are trying to drive a wedge between modern Islam and western culture hoping civilized societies will implode on each other. They are using the religion as a vehicle for their hate, to recruit people and justify their behaviour. We cannot fall for it.

Terrorists commit these actions to provoke an attack.

When they do in the name of Islam they are trying to get westerners to question anyone who would follow such a religion, including their neighbours. Suddenly there is suspicion of anyone who is a Muslim.

Muslims then feel targeted for something they don't believe in, and are suspicious of those who don't understand, while turning against them.

Terrorists feed this divisiveness by attacking in the name of Islam and then wait for the two sides to fight.

They recruit naïve Muslims saying, "see, the West is out to get us, they don't respect us. Come with us and join the battle."

They are trying to convince the disenfranchised that no one wants them.

Hamdani insists it's imperative Muslims must not feel there is a war on their faith in the West. Non-Muslims must feel they don't have to protect themselves from everyone who is Muslim.

Will the war on terror bring the world together, everyone versus terrorism? It has already started and we saw the first baby step with a march in Paris that attracted millions of every faith, (world leaders, too) marching in unity.

Hamdani adds, "No one wants ISIS (al-Qaida) to win. We are all in this together so this type of barbarism doesn't spread. This type of barbarism has to cease and desist from what it is doing."

This is a war that won't be won with military might, the enemy does not need that. It will be won by community building. If we don't, this will become the norm.

We can't lose the optimism we had when we counted down the new year.

The Scott Thompson Show airs weekdays noon-3 p.m. on News/Talk AM900 CHML. www.ScottThompsonTalk.com