May 25, 2015
In summer of 2014, the terrorist group known popularly as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) began calling itself the Islamic State as it carried out a fast and overwhelming conquering spree through western Iraq after already having a heavy presence in eastern Syria. They declared they had established the Caliphate, or the Islamic ruling system, despite not meeting much of the criteria to be considered a legitimate caliphate. Their tactics were so brutal that even groups like al-Qaeda have condemned them. Their brutality was particularly known to the Iraqi military that had been trained by the United States, so much so that when fighters from the terror group were approaching Mosul in Iraq, the Iraqi military literally dropped their weapons and took off running in fear.
Shortly after this group (whose horrific actions toward innocent civilians, journalists, and aid workers are completely in violation of Islamic Law when it comes to war, which is why we must not call them ISIS or the Islamic State but rather al-Qaeda Separatists in Iraq and Syria, or QSIS) declared its illegitimate caliphate while committing unspeakable atrocities along the way, President Obama ordered military air strikes against QSIS militants. In response, the leader and self-proclaimed caliph of QSIS, known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, called for supporters of the group in other countries to carry out attacks in their own countries on behalf of the terror group. The U.S. government and other western nations have been increasingly worried about these “lone wolf attacks,” which have been occurring recently. Earlier this month, in Garland, Texas, an art contest organized by prominent Islamophobes was attacked by two gunmen acting alone on behalf of QSIS. Additionally, a man with a hatchet attacked some New York police officers earlier this year on behalf of QSIS.
These attacks, however, not only are atrocious in nature, but they violate the covenant of security between Muslims in the West and the governments they live under. The scholars of the Muslim world have long argued, even before groups like QSIS or al-Qaeda took center stage in the media, that Muslims living the West are not allowed to carry out any kind of military operations in their home countries as long as these countries allow them to practice their religion and as long as these countries protect their life and well-being. While it is true that many western nations like the U.S. have a military presence in many Muslim countries that have resulted in civilian casualties, it is different on the home front where Muslims living the U.S., for example, whether they’re citizens or just residents, are not being bombed in the streets or killed in their homes. And because these western nations protect the Muslims who live there, Muslims in turn are not allowed to carry out operations or violate the laws of the land.
This doesn’t mean that if there are any injustices happening, that Muslims cannot do anything about it. They can definitely stop injustices whenever they want. They just have to do so in a way that is in accordance with the laws. As long as their lives are protected, and as long as they’re able to practice their religion, they have a covenant that they have to abide by. The vast majority of Muslims agree with this. Although groups like al-Qaeda and QSIS generally don’t believe in the covenant of security in the West, they also don’t follow the rulings of the scholars of the Muslim world. And they are not representative of Muslims in any way, shape, or form.