Yesterday, Wednesday October 22, 2014, will be remembered in history as the day when Canada has changed. The unlikely cause of this change is the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State in the Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Individual lone attackers targeting central and highly symbolic targets that cause relatively little damage but produce unusually high levels of media coverage seem to be the new method employed by terrorist groups, such as ISIL. In a cowardly despicable act yesterday, a lone terrorist shot and killed an unarmed ceremonial guard at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa and then moved on to Parliament buildings where he engaged in a gunfire exchange that resulted in his demise. This action, on the part of the terrorist, appears to be a suicide mission; for he could not have imagined a possibility of him coming out alive from his attack. All indications available point to an ISIL-inspired man who wanted to die and be remembered as a “martyr” by those who would follow in his footsteps.
This terrorist act produced the intended outcome; high media coverage focused on an act committed by an ISIL-inspired man. This will probably be used by ISIL and its recruiting channels to bring more and more of otherwise would be losers and criminals to become “heroes” by fighting alongside their brethren in Syria and Iraq as well as in many other countries around the globe. One must keep in mind that ISIL has recently changed its name to “Islamic State” thereby no longer limiting its territorial aspirations to Iraq and the Levant. With yesterday’s act, Canada has been placed right in the middle of this fight.
Today, more than any other day, Muslim communities across Canada have a duty to stand up and be counted. Muslims must adopt a practice of zero-tolerance to those among them who encourage, support, advocate, or tolerate any act that leads to spreading and/or promoting ISIL’s message within the Muslim-Canadian communities. Let us be clear: ISIL does not promote itself, and does not spread its messages, in Catholic churches or Buddhist temples; it does so only in Muslim mosques. That is the reason that compels Muslim-Canadians to make it loud and clear to fellow Canadians and fellow human beings everywhere that ISIL is the antithesis of Islam; and that they will not allow this collection of murderers, thugs, losers, and cowards to steal their great religion of Islam by simply claiming it while committing exactly all that Islam forbids. The ownership of the fight against ISIL and its sister organizations belongs to the Muslim-Canadian communities as much as it does to all Canadians, if not more.
Silence is not an option. ISIL and its sister organizations must be fought and eradicated everywhere they might exist, and their threat to humanity must be eliminated.
Hope is the stuff from which life is made!