ISIS is not religious but power-hungry

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Ryan Orloski

 

Regardless of how you view the ISIS terror situation and the United States’ diplomatic involvement, the actions of the terrorist group have raised an issue that concerns everyone—even students sitting in class thousands of miles away. The actions of the terrorist group have raised the issue of religious awareness.

ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, stepped into the public spotlight recently by executing American and British hostages, and has since been linked with an extreme branch of Islam. They have also been active in the area for years, convincing Sunnis (who are poorly represented by Shia governments in Syria and Iraq) that they offer a better way of life. In truth, they have slaughtered many innocent people. The common misconception is that ISIS is a true representation of Islam, that the religion is inherent violent. This is simply not true.

Let’s be clear: virtually all Muslims denounce ISIS’s view of their faith. Polls consistently display that violent Islamist extremism and groups like al-Qaeda are far from popular in countries with Muslim majority. Contrary to popular belief, ISIS’s actions stem not from a radical reading of the Karan, but instead from a quest for power.

There is also another example of this perversion of religion, and it occurs on our own soil. To give an example, groups like the Westboro Baptist Church espouse slurs, mistruths and disdain towards people they don’t agree with—Jews, Catholics and homosexuals, to name a few. The group does this all in the name of Primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles.

Let’s be clear about this as well: the group is widely regarded as a hate group, and it is monitored by the Anti-Defamation League. The Baptist Word Alliance and the Southern Baptist Convention, two of the largest Baptist sects, have denounced the Westboro Baptist church on numerous occasions. Their actions stem not from a devout following of Jesus Christ, but from a sickening sense of self-righteousness.

Neither ISIS nor WBC is an example of what their associated religion stands for. Islam is not a violent, extremist religion, nor is Christianity is a hateful, defaming one. What does this have to do with you?

Religious perversion is everywhere. Whether it’s on a large scale (ISIS, WBC) or not, the truth is that it’s present and you’ve seen it. It’s sickening to walk down a residential street and see a sign that says “God hates fags.” People unassociated with the Westboro Baptist Church have adopted such phrases, and it’s horrifying.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard slurs directed at people of Middle-Eastern descent— slurs that range from the color of their skin to associating all Muslims with violence and terrorism. There is an awful misconception that being Muslim equates with being a terrorist. I’ve heard these slurs, but the worst part is that I’ve seen them received as if it’s okay.

What we lack is a true understanding of religion. If someone says “God hates fags,” you can be sure they are not true followers of God. God hates no one, and the fact that this ideology exists casts a dark stain on our society. This ideology is simply a justification for hateful discrimination. It’s not okay.

Why do we need to stop religious perversion? Two reasons: one, because allowing it to persist will only increase the rift between the secular and non-secular. Two, because the use of religion to obtain political objectives (what ISIS is doing) is an injustice that we cannot stand for.

If someone says that Muslims are terrorists, or that they cannot be trusted due to the color of their skin or their religious attire, you can be sure they have no idea what they’re talking about. Islam has nothing to with the violence and murder done in its name. Associating Muslims with extremist groups is insulting and unacceptable.