If it is not one right wing Christian convincing a queer church member that they are damned to hell than it is a Muslim extremist convincing a young man to blow himself up. In the wake of such terror and grief, unraveling the beauty of God’s grace and mercy has never been more pressing.
Scott Shane, Richard Perez-Pena and Aurelien Breeden discuss the ever bearing pressure felt by second generation immigrants in non-Muslim countries to convert to extremism. According to their New York Times article, “‘In-Betweeners’ Are Part of a Rich Recruiting Pool for Jihadists”, recruiters for Al Qaeda and the Islamic State target second generation immigrants who are feeling uneasy with their American assimilation. According to the New York Times article, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Al Qaeda recruiter who was killed in an American drone strike in 2011 encouraged American Muslim’s to resist American assimilation and to reject establishing communal relationships with their neighbors. Mr. Awlaki used his rhetoric to diminish American Muslim identities and criticize those who had adapted to their American lifestyles living in harmony with non-Muslims. According to Mr. Awlaki’s ideology living in harmony with non-Muslims is not condonable.
However, Mr. Awlaki’s ideology is not consistent with the grace and mercy of Allah. According to all Abrahamic faiths, including Islam, enacting justice and mercy in the community are consistent with its themes. In regards to Islam, Muhammad rejected means of unnecessary violence. According to the historical accounts of Muhammad’s life and ministry, Muhammad’s intentions did not include attacking non discriminately against those who came in peace, especially women and children. In addition, Muhammad lived peacefully with “the people of the Book”. Muhammad’s behavior was so admired at times that people from different faiths often converted to Islam merely because his behavior demonstrated admirable qualities.
Therefore, in consideration of the extremist ideologies that seek to convince Muslim men and women to attack violently and indiscriminately against people of non-Muslim faith, their ideologies have been blind sighted by the furry of men. Therefore, now, more than ever, religious education needs to happen in the public sphere to counter false ideologies. The strategies imployed by the Islamic state are not new, every Abrahamic faith has walked down this road of demonizing the “other”. But, now is not the time to point fingers, it is time to teach people of all faith traditions to remember our commonalities and work toward remembering the Mercy of God.
‘In-Betweeners’ Are Part of a Rich Recruiting Poyol for Jihadists http://a.msn.com/01/en-us/BBwvgs9?ocid=st