It has been very refreshing to read all your commentary and defense of refugees in the midst of all the crazy post-Paris hand-wringing.
I write to tell you about an experience that backs up what you have been insistent in saying: that the refugees (and indeed, most Muslims) hate Daesh as much if not more than we do.
Today I had the pleasure of attending an inter-faith prayer service at my college (a Catholic school) led by a Catholic priest, an imam, and a rabbi, along with a handful of lay persons. The priest and the rabbi offered condolences, reassurance of God’s love and constant presence in our lives, and calls for peace from their respective traditions. The school president did the same. One student sang (bafflingly, for a prayer service) John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
And then there was the imam. He opened with a greeting of peace, and proceeded to quote from a passage of the Koran about how the taking of an innocent life is like killing all humanity. He spoke with frankness and intensity, roundly criticizing all forms of violence and hatred whether abroad or here in the US.
Then he said a name that I have not once heard mentioned on the campus, in all four years: “We [Jews, Christians, Muslims] have a common enemy: Satan.” He went on to talk about how we are being tested, and we must remain strong even as Satan is trying to tear apart “the order of our Creator.” He identified the violence being done by Daesh with Satan. If that is not a condemnation, I don’t know what is.
I have no problem with you sharing this story with your readers if you think it would interest them. All I ask is that you not share my name (given how vitriolic internet discussions involving Islam and terrorism tend to get).
1. “Imagine” is the anthem of civilization utterly unable to cope with the inflamed spirituality of ISIS. Imagining no religion is, in fact, very hard to do. We are creatures who cannot help worshipping. If it’s not God, it will be something else (money, pleasure, power, and honor are the Big Four when it comes to idols). And, indeed, the people swaying dreamily to “Imagine” are in hot pursuit of one or more of these idols. Shallow atheists have take to the Interwebz over the past week with the standard boilerplate about the Paris attacks being “what religion does”. But this is a dumb as putting up memes with atom bombs and Zyklon B containers and declaring them “what science does”. Religious people also did Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sistine Chapel and the work of Copernicus, Mendel, Pasteur, and LeMaitre. Religion invented the university, the scientific method, English parliamentary democracy, the hospital, the orphanage, and the concept of the separation of Church and state. More than that, it is the human belief in the transcendent that moves us to have the love and courage to resist merely capitulating to mere exercises of power and fear. You cannot hire martyrs to die at minimum wage. But you can inspire people to respond, not with hate and fear, but with love out of a transcendent belief that God is love, that human beings are not mere pieces of meat whose death means no more than a pig’s death does, and that our enemies, even they, are ones for whom Christ died.
2. The most recent Pew Poll confirms my reader’s impression that nobody loathes ISIS more than Muslims:
Yet, guys like Sean Hannity are so bound and determined to appease and capitulate to ISIS plan to isolate all Muslims from Westerners that they lie that the poll results show the opposite of what they show. Cowardice is a sin and sin makes you stupid. Irrationally afraid of all Muslims, Hannity completely rolls over for ISIS and works hard to convince his audience that natural allies against ISIS are our enemies, because he would rather save his skin from reprisals by ISIS than work to defeat it.
Meanwhile, the counsel of the gospel is to do the right thing rather than listen to false friends telling you to do the evil thing for the sake of saving your skin:
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. – Matthew 10:28