One common man’s answer to ISIS

Disaffecting youth begets criminals. Disaffecting youth begets gangs. Disaffecting youth begets terrorists. So, if you are being a good dad, the world thanks you. If you are being a good coach, the world thanks you. If you are being a good teacher, the world thanks you. If you are being a good cop, the world thanks you. If you are being a good judge, that is to say calling balls and strikes and not trying to bat the ball, the world thanks you. If you are being a good legislator in looking out for everybody, the world thanks you because you are protecting our youth, our society and the world from gang life and terrorism.

We had doctors without borders before we had terrorists without borders. We need to inspire our youth to aspire to become doctors without borders, not terrorists without borders.

Imams and mullahs are stepping up their efforts to curb a perversion of spiritual ardor, and this movement is all-important in a battle against today’s brand of terrorism that is fueled by theological conviction and perceived condescension from the West. But radical Islam’s war on modernity is actually a war against the 21st century, and that war cannot be won, as time marches on.

Most Americans find it impossible to imagine being disaffected to a point where we would offer ourselves up to suicide bombings. We find it impossible to imagine because most of us have never been marginalized to a degree where suicide bombing would become a viable consideration. I have never walked in that man’s shoes and hope I never will, but I can try to imagine what it must feel like and be aware of signs of marginalization in my neighborhood.

We have a global problem that must be addressed locally. Terrorism emerges from local marginalization. Zealotry is born in a cold vacuum. Where warmth and inclusion are prevalent, extremism withers.

While we are actively recruiting for participation in the armed forces, we should be recruiting just as actively for participation in education, as out of the public schools grows the greatness of a nation — or not.

Where terrorists recruit with social media, we must also recruit, but with a better story line and a better promise, a promise we can honor.

“Anonymous” hackers, wearing Guy Fawkes masks, have been effectively removing radical recruiting sites from the internet, while critics of this activity maintain this only makes it harder to track down the authors of those sites. It’s a complicated world we live in.

As to military intervention, I am not equipped to address that issue. Perpetrators of atrocities against mankind must bear the brunt of justice, but how to go about that tricky task is a global challenge that we have yet to address and act upon globally.

In closing, the Quran tells us, “God has told you in the Book that when you hear God’s revelations disbelieved in and mocked at, do not sit with them until they enter into some other discourse; surely then you would be like them.”

Mandating leaving the room does not also imply beheading or burning people alive as you go. Today’s caliphate jihadists are not reading the Quran, they are rewriting the Quran. Yet with a formidable flow of moral integrity and intellectual intensity across social media and across state borders, reason will inevitably and inexorably prevail, and ISIS, like the recent attack of Ebola, will be contained and eventually burn itself out. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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