The demands of radicalized converts like John Maguire -- who now goes by the moniker "Abu Anwar al-Canadi" -- that Muslims should attack Canada demonstrate his pathetic ignorance of the religion of Islam, the example of Muhammad and the nature of Canada.
Because Muhammad spent his life fighting against everything ISIS stands for, and he would have loved Canada. In fact, Canada's multicultural "just society" represents the highest aspirations of Muhammad's city-state of Medina, and Canada's egalitarian values align perfectly with the highest values of Islam.
And it's not just Canada that's true of either: a recent review of 208 nations world-wide confirms that you need to search through the top 32 "Western" nations before you come to a purportedly "Muslim" State that actually represents "Islamic" values.
Instead, the religion of Islam has been suborned to political purpose by Middle-East strongmen -- most of whom were imposed by outsiders -- for decades, and following in their footsteps the Islam of political organizations like ISIS and those like them is a politically manipulated Islam. Converts like Maguire have been manipulated by the political imperative of ISIS and the other groups promoting so called "radical Islam", spoon-fed a mixture of hate and mis-information about both religion and politics, and have been turned into nothing more than disposable weapons.
Thank God it hasn't always been that way, and it's still not that way for most converts. When I became Muslim 20 years ago, I was welcomed into a Muslim community whose main attitude towards me was hospitality, and alongside them I learned an Islam based on the Quran and Muhammad's example rather than any sort of an "approved" doctrine. Honestly, that was what attracted me to it: I had left Christianity not because I'd become unhappy with what the Bible said, but because I had realized that -- in my opinion -- Christianity had replaced following Jesus with worshiping him. So from my perspective I actually followed Jesus into Islam, and I have stayed Muslim because Muhammad took that inspiring Judeo-Christian religious foundation, corrected a few mistaken misinterpretations, and translated it all into a real and functioning multicultural and multi-religious society.
In brief, in my intensive search through all our world's religions -- trying to find one that had remained completely true to their original revelation -- I learned that every one of God's prophets has promoted a "just society" for all that society's members, rather than just one world religion.
And while Muhammad was alive -- and for a scant few years after he died -- that was exactly what the first Muslims maintained in Arabia, until they lost it.
As a Canadian Muslim, I rejoiced to realize that we'd rediscovered it in Canada, and Canada's other Muslims celebrated that alongside me: in fact, they all agreed that that was one of the main reasons they had come to Canada in the first place.
Bottom line, Muhammad's Islam is the cure for ISIS, but Canada is the cure for ISIS too.So what do converts need to know about Muhammad and Islam?
- First and foremost, learn your religion for yourself: if you are ignorantly following another person --even if they assure you theirs is the most perfect Islam-- then you are a fool, because following other people into destruction is mocked again and again in the Qur'an.
- Don't be an idiot: if it looks wrong, it is wrong. You can't serve God by doing evil in His name.
- If anybody tells you you have to change your name, change your language, disrespect your culture, your friends or your country, or disrespect women or other religions to be a good Muslim, they are lying to you.
- Please, check it all out for yourself, because everything I am writing is a matter of easily accessible record.
- And remember, God is The Most Gracious, and The Most Merciful: God will forgive you your sins and put you back on the straight path, you only have to ask.
Because the world God intends is a world of peace. When Muhammad (peace be upon him) could have done anything, when he had an army behind him full of devoted followers willing to die at his command, he took over Medina and then Mecca and promulgated a constitutional accord that granted equal access to justice and all the protections of his "Islamic" state to Muslim and non-Muslim alike. He even promised those protections to non-believers.
He promoted women's rights, and religious equality for all, and he made those promises binding on the Muslims who followed after him to the end of time.
He fought for a world where Islam was allowed, not imposed. And once he'd won it, he promised religious freedom to all others regardless of their faiths, and even welcomed Christian worship into his own Mosque when necessary, not because he approved of their doctrine, but because he valued religious freedom and every person's right to celebrate God's ultimate goodness together --sometimes despite the different ways we understand it-- first.
And he didn't hate Jews either. In fact the majority of Jewish tribes in Medina remained welcome there until long after he died. The famous falling out with the Banu Nadir, Banu Quynuqa and Banu Qurayza wasn't over religious matters, it was because they betrayed their own government, in much the same way that converts like Maguire are betraying Canada today. Two tribes accepted Muhammad's judgement and were exiled for their crimes --while still being allowed to take their wealth and their families with them--, while the Qurayza rejected Muhammad and demanded Jewish justice, which they got from their self-chosen judge Sa'd just as Sa'd had promised, imposed straight from the pages of Deuteronomy, rather than from Muhammad and the Quran.
They condemned themselves and their families and died for their pride, not Islam. It was all about politics back then, just like it's all about politics today: Israel's Zionism and Palestine's Islamism have little to do with either Judaism, or Islam.
Muslims are not allowed to hate, kill, oppress, rape, coerce or harm others, and any Muslim who does any of those things will face God's wrath on Judgement Day. Rather than Islam and Muslims, what ISIS is actually fighting for is a set of pre-Islamic practices including misogyny, racism and a near worshipful reverence for masculine honor that Muhammad called "The Jahiliyyah", meaning "The Days of Pre-Islamic Ignorance."
Muhammad warned Muslims that ignorance would return to threaten Muslims and Islam eventually, and it has.
As promised, that ignorance threatens converts with death and damnation, threatens the Middle East with war and destruction, and threatens our entire world with fear, harm and confusion.
And so in response, opposing ISIS and all those like them for the sake of our combined Islamic and Canadian values of egalitarian justice and freedom -- the true values espoused by Muhammad and his first and best followers -- is what Muslim Canadians should be doing, for the sake of Canada and for the sake of Islam.