As we approach the Christian religious holiday of Easter, a devastating terrorist attack ravaged Brussels, the capital of Belgium on Tuesday, March 22nd. The Brussels international airport was hit first shortly followed by an attack in a city metro station. Over 30 people have been killed and many injured.
Because this occurred on the same day that some Republican and Democratic primaries were being held on the West coast, all of the candidates responded. It afforded all of them an opportunity to chime in about their foreign policy stance and how they would handle terrorism. Once again, Senator Cruz and Donald Trump blamed all of the followers of Islam (Muslims).
Importantly, airports and metro stations in major U.S. cities are on high alerts. Americans travelling to and living in Europe have been advised to have been advised to use extra caution and avoid crowded places. There is no mistaking that the extremist Islamic group known as ISIS, is more than just a nuisance, so something needs to be done. Just what is what is ISIS , what are they so angry about, and what can we do to protect ourselves? This single blog post does not have the solutions, but this blogger is curious.
ISIS is the acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Its members follow a particular type of Islam that is closely aligned with Sunni Islam. Sunni Muslims maintain that it is the Muslim community who must choose an Islamic leader based on their knowledge of and their practice or observation of Islam. This is one of the key differences from Shiite Muslims who believe that Islamic leaders can only be relatives/descendants of the Prophet Muhammad.
So why are ISIS members angry? Well, it is important to understand that their anger is rooted in their religious conviction to purify the world by killing a very large number of people who are “unbelievers” which is based on the “Takfiri doctrine”. According to this doctrine, even other Muslims, particular those who live in non-Muslim states, can be killed if they are found to be “unpure”. ISIS members practice what is described by many Muslim scholars as an extremist, puritanical type of Sunni Islam and they do not condone takfiri ideology.
To try and dissect or get into the “mind” of ISIS is not the goal of this blog post, but it is necessary to point out that the terrorist attacks in Europe are inching just a little too close to home and the group responsible for them should not be shrugged off. Now does that mean the United States should start gearing up the troops? The answer is a resounding “No!” and even if we wanted to, we could not. That is primarily because ISIS is a group whose members are located everywhere…it is NOT a country. So Donald Trump…we cannot just send the military out to “blast the hell” out of ’em.
Although we can’t engage in a traditional war with ISIS are we in the midst of a global religious war? If so, it would not be a war between ALL Muslims and non-Muslims. Remember, ISIS feels justified in killing other Muslims too (Sunnis and Shiites). So what can we do? That is a simple question with no simple answer. Trump’s and Cruz’s idea to detain all Muslims does not work for the reason just stated. Let’s not forget, there are even people joining ISIS via online sites who are not even Muslims (that’s a whole other story)!
For now, it seems that the decision to increase security at key places and tell individuals to use caution is all that can be done. Also, as we begin the celebration of the upcoming religious holiday (although it has pagan roots – another story!) it is important to pray for the family/friends of those who were killed and for the healing of those who were seriously injured in the recent attacks in Brussels. In my opinion, ISIS is a crisis, but it is NOT an insurmountable one.
Thanks for “listening” to me whine. Hopefully my whining has made you think. If so, tell your friends/family/colleagues that you heard it through the Political Great Whine!