Terrorism Was Never Mainstream Sunni Islam


  1. “Sunni” Muslim terrorism is rooted in non-traditional Islam, such as the Salafi and Modernist movements.
  2. Traditional, orthodox Sunni Muslims have always rejected this behavior and rejected terrorism, from the advent of Islam to today.
  3. American Imperialism is a major root of resentment and it fuels terrorism.
  4. Terrorism hurts everyone, both Muslims and non-Muslims, though Muslims have taken the brunt of it.
  5. We must get educated about American Imperialism and desire to see a return to America’s roots: doing proper business with the world while respecting other countries’ sovereignty.
  6. It’s important to get media literate to avoid being manipulated.

Salafism and Terrorism

I’ve been arguing for years that Salafism is one of the roots of terrorism. This video of Osama Bin Laden (OBL) confessing to 9/11 is a strong evidence for that. You may argue that it is a “fake,” yet there are a number of other videos and interviews he did over the years affirming this ideology and behavior. He never once said he was framed, rather, he always doubled down. You can’t argue that Robert Fisk is in tandem with this “set up.” Even if you believe OBL is a CIA agent, I’m sure we can still agree on everything else in this article.

Transcript: “There is an association between those who say: I believe in one God and Muhammad is his prophet, and those who don’t (…inaudible…) Those who do not follow the true fiqh. The fiqh of Muhammad, the real fiqh. They are just accepting what is being said at face value. Those youths who conducted the operations did not accept any fiqh in the popular terms, but they accepted the fiqh that the prophet Muhammad brought.”

He’s basically saying they’re all Salafis. As we know, traditional Islam utterly forbids attacking non-combatants, among a large number of other laws of warfare. This is succinctly summed up in Abu Bakr’s (radi Allahu anhu) 10 commands to his army when they were heading out for Byzantine Syria:

“O people! I charge you with ten rules; learn them well! Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy’s flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.”

The Salafis, and their terrorist organizations, instead reinvent their own fiqh, ignoring such basic instructions. This is why we follow the tradition, so we don’t miss such basic teachings of our tradition and reinvent the wheel that has been running smoothly for 14 centuries.

Muslims Are the Victims

If you look geographically where it is coming from, nearly all terrorism is occurring in Muslim countries against Muslims (though not always perpetrated by Muslims). One issue with Salafism is it makes it way too easy to excommunicate your fellow Muslims, against mainstream Sunni creedal beliefs. How many Turkish Muslims joined al-Qaeda? Or Malaysian? Or Moroccan? These countries maintained two things: sufficient sovereignty from Western interference (maintaining stability) and traditional Sunni creed. Most of these terrorized countries were destabilized from various political issues, like foreign interference and invasions, failed revolutions, and failed states. These create a vacuum of governance for terrorists, especially in countries rife with Salafism like Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and others.

Terrorists often kill their fellow Muslims more than non-Muslims. Statistically, most terrorist victims are Muslims. If you look at everyone ISIS was killing and fighting, nearly all of them are Muslims. Though terrorism worldwide counts for a microscopic percentage of deaths worldwide, it still garnered a third of media attention in 2016. When things become increasingly visible in the media, it’s easy to assume that they’re becoming more common – psychologists refer to this phenomenon as the availability heuristic.

Note that these terrorist incidents are not only perpetrated by “Muslims,” but by other religions as well such as Hindus in India and Christians in Africa and Latin America.
Even the worst country on this map, Iraq, has less than 5% of deaths from terrorism.

The media coverage, of course, is way out of proportion. If only that massive block of media coverage sympathized for the vast majority of statistical victims–Muslims. Rather, Muslims are blamed and demonized, because it’s profitable.

Ann Coulter notoriously stated after 9/11: “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” As if over a billion Muslims worldwide are collectively guilty. I have never heard a Muslim say anything like this, not even Bin Laden himself said this or believed it. Though this type of knee-jerk reaction played right into his hands: his strategy was to try and repeat the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 80s, by provoking America to invade Afghanistan, which he presumed would crash America’s economy and global empire.

What is Salafism?

For those who are unaware, I’ll briefly describe a little Arab history. There were two movements that have somewhat overlapped and converged in the past century: the Wahhabis and the Modernists.

The Wahhabis began with Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (d. 1792). He basically excommunicated the entire Muslim world, claimed he’s the only one who truly understands Islamic beliefs, and allied with ibn Saud to conquer the Arabian Peninsula (modern Saudi Arabia basically). His followers basically reinvent their own law and beliefs, while making tons of critical errors in the process. They arrogantly assert that basically every traditional scholar in Islamic history was wrong, which is absurd. A contemporary traditional scholar wrote about them in a refutation:

In 1802, Christian era, the Wahhabis marched with large armies to the area of al-Ta’if. In Dhu al-Qa’dah of the same year, they laid siege to the area occupied by Muslims, defeated them, and murdered all the people, including men, women, and children. They also lauded the Muslims longing for possessions, and only a few people escaped their barbarism. They even stole gifts from the grave of the prophet Muhammad, took all the gold that was there, and engaged in many similar acts of sacrilege. After that they laid siege to Mecca and surrounded it from all directions to tighten the siege. They blocked the roads to the city and prevented supplies from reaching it. This caused great hardship to the people of Mecca, for supplies became unaffordable and completely unavailable. The situation was such that for some months people resorted to eating dogs.

Fitnat al-Wahhabiyya (Arabic: فتنة الوهابية‎, lit. ‘The Wahhabi Fitna’), 1978

After ibn Abdul Wahhab died, his followers attempted to fight the Ottoman Empire twice, losing both times, their leaders executed. After their victories in the early 1900s against the weakened Ottoman Empire, they began the Third Saudi State until today.

The other movement is the Modernists. its founders include Muhammad Abduh (d. 1905), Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani, and Muhammad Rashid Rida (d. 1935). These early Islamic Modernists used the term “salafiyya” to refer to their attempt at renovation of Islamic thought, and this “salafiyya movement” is often known in the West as “Islamic modernism.” This term comes from the word “salaf,” meaning predecessors, and specifically referring to the first three generations of Muslims, whose rulings are also a source of law (fiqh).

The modernists have created a mess of their own as well, and a popular scholar of theirs is Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is well-known for writing a fatwa for resistance groups against Israel that suicide bombing is permissible, then redacted it after it was used to harm civilian targets in Israel. Nonetheless, the damage was done, and suicide bombing persists among terrorist organizations.

Sheikh al-Albani, a 20th century Wahhabi, liked the term Salafi and took it from the modernists to describe the Wahhabis. Nowadays, there’s basically four terms: Wahhabi, Salafi, Modernist, and Traditionalist. The Wahhabis support the Saudi state unconditionally and overlook their misdeeds. The Salafis are their own religious sect that rejects traditional Sunni scholarship. The Modernists are the types who believe in “renovating” Islam, but in reality destroy it in the process. The “traditionalists,” as some have come to call us, are orthodox Sunni Muslims who follow the traditional scholars, law, creed, and methodologies. The Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Malaysia, Chinese Hui Muslims, Morocco, Mauritania, and Gambia, for example, could be described as “traditionalists,” among many others.

What’s notable is the issue of taqlid and ijtihad here. Ijtihad is drawing up a new ruling on a religious issue. It has several qualifications to do so, like a high-level judge. Taqlid is following these rulings of scholars, which is for everyone else not qualified to do ijtihad. The Modernists and Salafis both think that the “doors of ijtihad” were “closed,” when they never were. They then do ijtihad haphazardly and unnecessarily, more akin to an off-the-cuff remark than a carefully researched process. They ignore the work of great scholars before them and claim they were misguided. They try to change Islam to fit oscillating Western ideas (modernists) or Saudi agendas (salafis), and the result is disaster after disaster. Islam itself is perfect, when properly studied and implemented, as history has shown time and again. Traditionalists stick to the traditional principles and creed, which have always proven to work, and do ijtihad where, when, and in a manner that is appropriate. Departure from the tradition has always led to error.

The Wahhabis/Salafis have since broken into several different groups with different ideas, rooted in some commonalities, such as:

  • Creedal beliefs that reject tabarruk and tawassul, which make it easier to excommunicate (takfir) their fellow Muslims and accuse them of worshiping other gods. What’s notable here is tabarruk (seeking blessings from objects of prophets/saints) and tawassul (drawing near to God through deeds, prophets, saints, etc) have a large number of proofs in a number of hadith and are accepted–and even done–by pretty much all classical scholars of Islam as well as the companions of the prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
  • Beliefs that they don’t have to follow a madhhab, one of the four orthodox schools of Islamic law. Or some follow Hanbali fiqh, but modify it to their whims. Instead of following the traditional scholars and creed, they basically reinvent their own law as they go, and make a mess out of it, denouncing classical scholars and contemporary traditionalists. They then call this the “true Islam the prophet Muhammad ﷺ brought,” when it is anything but.

So when Bin Laden said the following: “Those who do not follow the true fiqh. The fiqh of Muhammad, the real fiqh. They are just accepting what is being said at face value (taqlid). Those youths who conducted the operations did not accept any fiqh in the popular terms, but they accepted the fiqh that the prophet Muhammad brought” he was saying his terrorist organization and the 9/11 hijackers were Salafis and reject traditional Muslim scholarship.

In the past few years, we’ve seen Salafism die off pretty steadily, as falsehood can only last so long before the truth prevails. Many are now following madhhabs and slowly coming back to traditional Islam, step by step, after decades of hard work by traditional scholars around the world.

In the past few years, it seems to be more widely accepted, importantly among Saudis, that their ideology fueled a lot of the violence and terrorism going on. In the video below you’ll find Saudi sheikh Adil al-Kalbani, a former Imām of the Haram (sacred mosque) in Makkah, going on the record to say Salafism resulted in ISIS.

ISIS Draws on Salafism

The majority of ISIS commentaries are works by Wahhabi authors, including textbooks on creed with chapters on “nationalism,” “patriotism,” and “democracy,” consistent with earlier Salafi authors who deemed these political concepts as unnecessary divisions of the Muslim world and signs of unbelief. This conveniently lines up with a totalitarian Saudi state who fear democracy and revolution, twisting Islam to fit their agenda. This conveniently ignores the fact that the third caliph, Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him), was elected by a popular vote. ISIS of course does not recognize the Islamic schools of law in its textbooks on jurisprudence. Instead they refer exclusively to Quranic verses, hadith, and statements of select scholars who share its views — all of this consistent with Salafi methodology.

Their textbook on “The Qur’an and Its Exegesis” does not mention any of the traditional commentators who clarified the historical context for the verse’s revelation and what they meant. They deemed both traditional and modern commentators as holding deviant theological views, writing:

It is through God Almighty’s mercy and the good of His confirmation that the Islamic State has today entered a new period from the perspective of having laid the first brick in the edifice of an Islamic education founded upon the methodology of the Quran, the Prophetic guidance, and the understanding of the pious predecessors (as-salaf as-salih) and their first troops, and through a pure vision that is neither Eastern nor Western. For the Prophetic [approach to the] Quran is far from whims, falsities, and deviances [that are characteristic of ] the callers to Eastern socialism or Western capitalism or the brokerage of political parties, or the corrupt innovated methodologies with a clear impact on the sons of the Islamic community.

The Islamic State carries the burdens—with the agreement of God almighty—of refuting them and bringing them to a renewed monotheism…

Today [the Islamic State] proceeds along these steps, with its new methodology that spares nothing in following the way of the pious predecessors (as-salaf as-salih) in its preparation, attentive to it in accordance with the Quran and the sunna, defining itself on the basis of these two sources and neither deviating from them nor changing them, during a time in which the corruptions of the corrupters has multiplied, [as have] the falsification of the falsifiers, the aversion of the deniers, and the excessiveness of the extremists.

Consistent with Salafism, they threw out the entire Islamic tradition, front to back. They even use the notoriously Salafi term and eponym, “as-salaf as-salih,” and allude to the notoriously Salafi idea that traditional Islam is corrupted with “innovated methodologies.” They claim a “renewed monotheism,” akin to the followers of ibn Abdul Wahhab who called themselves “muwahidun” (“monotheists”). They try to use their “state” to redefine Islam. Of course, to traditional Muslims, these radicals themselves are the innovators.

ISIS even used all Saudi textbooks in their classrooms before introducing their own. The Economist reported: “Dissidents in Raqqa, the Syrian town that is IS’s proto-capital, say all 12 of the judges who now run its court system, adjudicating everything from property disputes to capital crimes, are Saudis.”

ISIS clearly targets today’s Saudi religious establishment for their “betrayal” of ibn Abdul-Wahhab’s legacy. This is a common occurrence in the history of Wahhabism, where radical elements break off and declare the Saudis themselves apostates. This should come as no surprise, considering the ideology is basically founded upon takfir (excommunication) of fellow Muslims, declaring them apostates and deviants, and opening the door to warfare and conquest against other Muslims. It’s what the Saudi state was founded upon in the Saudi-Wahhabi political-religious alliance.

Even the prophet Muhammad may have described these people in this hadith from Bukhari:

Ibn Umar narrated: (The Prophet) said, “O Allah! Bless our Sham and our Yemen.” People said, “Our Najd as well.” The Prophet again said, “O Allah! Bless our Sham and Yemen.” They said again, “Our Najd as well.” On that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “There will appear earthquakes and afflictions, and from there will come out the side of the head of Satan.”

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا حُسَيْنُ بْنُ الْحَسَنِ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ عَوْنٍ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، قَالَ اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِي شَامِنَا وَفِي يَمَنِنَا‏.‏ قَالَ قَالُوا وَفِي نَجْدِنَا قَالَ قَالَ اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِي شَامِنَا وَفِي يَمَنِنَا‏.‏ قَالَ قَالُوا وَفِي نَجْدِنَا قَالَ قَالَ هُنَاكَ الزَّلاَزِلُ وَالْفِتَنُ، وَبِهَا يَطْلُعُ قَرْنُ الشَّيْطَانِ‏.‏


Non-Jihadist and Jihadist Salafis

For non-jihadist Salafists, not following Islam in the way they understand it could be due to any number of factors, including not being exposed to Salafi ideas, misunderstanding them, or sheer laziness. For jihadists, however, this failure signifies one’s explicit rejection of Islam and therefore one’s withdrawal from the fold. By excommunicating (or performing takfir on) Muslims, jihadists justify the use of violence against them for apostatizing from the faith. Much of this rhetoric is based on the writings of Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, who introduced the notion of specific practices that can nullify one’s Islam. IS and jihadists in general have broadened this framework of nullifiers by including among them adherence to non-Islamic political orders and ideologies and participation in their institutions and process (by, for example, forming political parties and campaigning)—all of which, according to jihadists, challenge God’s exclusive right to legislate.

In the opening to ISIS’ textbook on how to use a programming code, the textbook editors explain that:

higher skills are among the most important treasures in modern weaponry today, and the Islamic State fights the enemies of God among the tyrannical idolatrous Arabs and foreigners.

Granted, some Arab leaders are indeed tyrannical, though America’s CIA extradition program seems to enjoy such inhumanities. However, countries like Morocco, Mauritania, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, and others are doing quite alright and have decent leadership, representation, and freedom, even better than America by some metrics. Declaring them universally as “idolatrous” is quite extreme, though unsurprising, considering Jordan tried hard to end ISIS in the 2000s in tandem with the US, years before the public knew they existed. Jordan itself declares Islam to be the religion of the state in its constitution, based on Hanafi fiqh. Yet they’re proper traditional Muslims rather than Salafis.

More reading on ISIS: Inside the Caliphate’s Classroom

Saudi Arabia, an IS That Has Made It

Islamic Rulings on Warfare

There is an oft-cited Quranic verse about not harming innocents:

“Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.”

Quran 5:32

These points are reinforced by other sayings of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ:

It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of God said: “Do not desire an encounter with the enemy; but when you encounter them, be firm.” (Muslim Book 19, hadith No. 4313)

It is narrated on the authority of Abdullah that a woman was found killed in one of the battles fought by the Messenger of God. He disapproved of the killing of women and children. (Muslim Book 19, hadith No. 4319)

It is narrated by Ibn ‘Umar that a woman was found killed in one of these battles; the Messenger of Allah therefore forbade the killing of women and children. (Muslim Book 19, hadith No. 4320)

And in a hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn al-As, Muhammad said: “You are neither hard-hearted nor of fierce character, nor one who shouts in the markets. You do not return evil for evil, but excuse and forgive.” (al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, Book 60, hadith No. 362).
Note: This hadith refutes the common excuse for excesses committed by terrorist organizations that, “they do it to us.” That is not acceptable.

Abu al-A’la al-Mawdudi, one of Pakistan’s founding fathers, writes:

Islam has first drawn a clear line of distinction between the combatants and the noncombatants of the enemy country. As far as the noncombatant population, such as women, children, the old and the infirm, etc., is concerned, the instructions of the Prophet are as follows: “Do not kill any old person, any child, or any woman.” (Abu Dawud) “Do not kill the monks in monasteries,” or “Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship.” (Musnad of Ibn Hanbal) During a war, the Prophet saw the corpse of a woman lying on the ground and observed: “She was not fighting. How then came she to be killed?” From this statement of the prophet, jurists have drawn the principle that those who are noncombatants should not be killed during or after the war.

Human Rights in Islam, chapter 4, Mawdudi

I’ll further quote a paper on “Islamic Rulings on Warfare” by Youssef Aboul-Enein and Sherifa Zuhur:

“Islamic radicals have defended attacks on civilians with several sorts of twisted logic. Israelis―men and women―serve for different lengths of time as active military, and up to a certain age, in the reserve military forces. Therefore, the popular Shaykh al-Qaradawi and others reason that all Israelis, including women and children, are potential combatants and enemies of Islam. One can see that this logic could then be applied to Western invaders or even travelers who are considered to be enemies or worse, spies. Nepalese civilian workers in Iraq were taken hostage and brutally murdered. Their killers noted that they “worshipped Buddha” (i.e., they were unbelievers) and served the enemies of Islam (the United States). Clearly, the early texts call instead for a normal definition and respectful treatment of noncombatants.

Perhaps the most damming indictment of Osama Bin Laden comes from a text that members or associates of al-Qaeda frequently refer to in their speeches and writings. This text is The Polity Governed by Islamic Law (al-Siyasa al-Shari`ah), a book written by 13th century Islamic jurist Taqi ibn Taymiyyah. Ibn Taymiyyah provides an anarchistic interpretation of jihad because he disapproved of Muslim leaders’ cooperation with, or lack of condemnation of, the Mongols, a people who followed their own religio-legal code, although those who conquered the Middle East later converted to Islam. The book argues that a Muslim owes allegiance to a ruler who is considered an upstanding Muslim. From this argument, the converse is constructed―that a ruler who is not an upstanding Muslim is not worthy of allegiance, and may be declared an unbeliever in the process known as takfir. What is anarchistic here is that sedition, or revolting against the ruler, was a capital crime in Islam. Violence and upheaval were considered injurious to the Muslim community, so sanctioning jihad against a ruler was revolutionary, incendiary, and forbidden, despite the example of various secessionist groups in Islamic history. Ibn Taymiyyah also discounts the Christians’ role in early Islamic history and views interfaith commonality as a luxury, giving an ideological justification to declare unrestricted war on Christians and Jews.

However, if a madrasah student who is taught from this text simply reads its pages more closely, he would find a contradiction. On pages 144-145, Ibn Taymiyyah explains that killing (warfare) is not the goal of Islam, but is a means of protecting the faith and those who preach it from hostilities. He also writes that those who do not battle Muslims and do not prevent the (free) practice of faith and preaching it are not to be killed, and war is not to be declared upon them (Hussein, al-Islam, p. 26.). Ibn Taymiyyah’s arguments are based on Muhammad’s early wars against the Meccans in preserving his society from persecution. War verses in the Quran, al-Anfal, verses 60-62, have prompted Islamic commentaries on warfare, its preparedness, and the concept of deterrence: “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of God and your enemies.” (Verse 60, al-Anfal) It is easy to simply quote verse 60 and not the next verse: “But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God: for He is the one that heareth and knoweth.” (alAnfal, Verse 61)”

As sheikh Nuh Keller wrote: “The Wahhabi sect, which has not been around for more than two and a half centuries, has never been part of traditional Sunni Islam, which rejects it and which it rejects. Orthodox Sunnis, who make up the vast majority of Muslims, are neither Wahhabis nor terrorists, for the traditional law they follow forbids killing civilian non-combatants to make any kind of point, political or otherwise. Those who have travelled through North Africa, Turkey, Egypt, or the Levant know what traditional Muslims are like in their own lands. Travellers find them decent, helpful, and hospitable people, and feel safer in Muslim lands than in many places, such as Central America, for example, or for that matter, Central Park.”

Wahhabi vs Salafi

Technically, the Wahhabiyya are those that subscribe to the “Dawa” (call/preaching) of Ibn Abdul Wahhab and uphold the pact between their Ulamā (the Āl al-Shaykh) and the tribe of Āl Saud. So that would not make Bin Laden a Wahhabi since he broke off. The Wahhabis are politically quietist and uphold the rule of the “Awliyā al Amr” (the Royal Family) in the Kingdom.

However, the Wahhabi ideology is Salafi, and they mainly brought Salafism to the front of the Sunni world since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and rise of the third Saudi-Wahhabi State AKA Saudi Arabia. Pseudo-Sunni terrorist groups like ISIS are usually a spinoff of this same Salafi/Wahhabi ideology.

American Imperialism

This should not shade away from legitimate grievances the world has for America’s and Europe’s policies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, which have destroyed billions of lives, crushed democracy after democracy until freedom is but a pipe dream, ground economies of entire continents into the dirt, and caused several genocides.

The most vitally important book on this topic is “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” by Perkins. In short, America–including the World Bank, the NSA, CIA, Exxon, United Fruit, Chiquita, and other companies–go around the so-called “developing world” offering “development projects” to tap into their natural resources, farmland, or need for basic infrastructure (like electricity). They then estimate it’s development well over realistic projections. Their government is then expected to take on a massive loan from the US financial system, which can only go to an America company to lead the project. The result is the country eventually defaults on the loan, of course, and America then takes even more concessions, including access to more of their natural resources (basically stealing) and toleration of American military bases in their country.

One example is Honduras. As historian Walter LaFeber writes in “Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America,” American companies “built railroads, established their own banking systems, and bribed government officials at a dizzying pace.” As a result, the Caribbean coast “became a foreign-controlled enclave that systematically swung the whole of Honduras into a one-crop economy whose wealth was carried off to New Orleans, New York, and later Boston.” This is a perfect example of what happened to all of Latin America.

The entire war in Syria may have been over a natural gas pipeline, as Robert Kennedy Jr. argues. Iran’s democracy was toppled in 1953 to steal their oil, and this resulted in the 1979 Iranian Revolution and our tension with Iran. Saddam was a CIA plant, which led to the Iran-Iraq War, Gulf War, and second invasion of Iraq and War on Terror. Time and again, history repeats itself as America repeats its policies.

The reality is that terrorism is merely a symptom of oppressive policies. If more Americans were aware of our country’s misdeeds, we could pressure our representatives to change course. Until that happens, don’t be surprised by immigration issues at the border and the occasional angry terrorist like Osama bin Laden turning to extreme measures.

No normal Muslim likes terrorists, wars, or oppression. We want this to stop. We want America to return to its roots of doing business with the world ethically and respecting other nations’ sovereignty. We want freedom, prosperity, and sensible leadership–in America and everywhere else. We want world peace.

We’ve been writing and speaking against terrorism and ISIS–and their ideologies–for years, despite the death threats. Our efforts go unnoticed by many, but our march for peace will not be stopped by war mongers and bigots.

Most people haven’t even read Bin Laden’s confession. I disagree with his approach, of course–he should’ve used his money to start a lobby or a grassroots movement to raise awareness or something like Fair Trade–but it is informative to read. For Sun Tzu said: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” All of us Americans–Muslim or otherwise–have a common enemy. That enemy is heavy-handed foreign policy; various CIA shenanigans around the world; stealing land and natural resources abroad; the Trojan horse that is USAID; brutality & genocide against anyone who protests; wars, coups, and blood for oil we could’ve obtained ethically anyways; spending millions on Islamophobia; and numerous other internal problems. It’s important to get media literate to avoid being manipulated.

If we focus on getting educated about America’s real issues, we can stop spanking the whipping boys overseas and direct our energy where it counts: holding our government and representatives accountable. As sheikh Nuh Keller wrote after 9/11:

Two wrongs do not make a right. They only make two wrongs. I think the whole moral discourse has been derailed by our own rhetoric in recent decades. Terrorism must be repudiated by America not only by words but by actions, beginning with its own. As ‘Abd al-Hakim Winter asks, “Are the architects of policy sane in their certainty that America can enrage large numbers of people, but contain that rage forever through satellite technology and intrepid double agents?” I think we have to get back to basics and start acting as if we knew that killing civilians is wrong.

Further Reading

Understanding the Origins of Wahhabism and Salafism
Turkey’s 200-Year War against ‘ISIS’
Making the World Safe for Terrorism – Sheikh Nuh Keller
Condemning Terrorism – RISSC – free book



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