Before you go and join ISIS…

A short letter to potential recruits


Salam alaikum,

Peace be with you, whoever you are. You may be a young Muslim, anywhere between 18 to 30, most likely male. Perhaps you’re a convert, swept up in the religious zeal of your newfound faith. You’re angry at the injustice going on in the world. You’re distraught by the discrimination you face as a Muslim.

Regardless, you have been drawn into the ISIS war machine by their promise of adventure and the romance of restoring the glory of Islam. Maybe your bags are already packed and you’re ready to go.

But before you board your flight to Syria or Iraq or wherever, ask yourself this simple question:

Are they merciful?

Continue reading “Before you go and join ISIS…”

Khawarij: A History of Violence – An Essay

There are many Muslims who are troubled by ISIS and their vicious rhetoric and vicious actions. But this is not the first time that a rebel group of Muslims have emerged with extremist tendencies. And as the saying goes, those who do not heed history are doomed to repeat it. Continue reading “Khawarij: A History of Violence – An Essay”

ISIS does not speak for me

The beheading of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff are among the many recent atrocities that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also known as ISIL) has carried out in recent months. More frightening is the speed at which this group came into power. Just a few months ago, the name meant nothing; then after June 9, following the sudden take-over of the city of Mosul, ISIS suddenly became an international name.

Then came a surprising declaration: they re-established the Islamic caliphate. Or, at least, they did in their own minds. Rather than by consent of the Muslims, as is required for a legitimate Islamic caliphate, ISIS established a caliphate the same way a tyrant establishes dictatorship: through force and coercion and oppression. And by claiming they have established a new caliphate, they are basically saying “We speak for the Muslim world.”

But ISIS does not speak for me. Continue reading “ISIS does not speak for me”