Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


The ISIS trap and Islamophobes falling into it

Disrespectful conduct toward Muslims is likely to help ISIS reach its recruitment goals.

Muslims and non-Muslims gather to pray at the Grande Mosque in Lyon, France, on Sunday.
REUTERS/Robert Pratta

It’s easier, and maybe more pleasing in some weird way, to assume that the vile, hideous attack on innocent civilians in Paris reflects nothing but the deranged bloodthirsty hatred in the heart of ISIS.

Then I read this piece, headlined “The Islamic State’s Trap for the Europe,” by Harleen Gambhir, a counterterrorism analyst at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War. ISIS seeks new recruits, especially among Muslims living in the West (for alarming but logical reasons). So what might help the recruitments? Lots of things, including social media and promises of paradise and, yes, deranged bloodthirsty hatred might be in there. But one more, emphasized by Gambhir, is an obnoxious backlash by non-Muslim Westerners that disrespects Islam. She could be right. It kind of makes sense and she is a Harvard grad who is specializing in this very question.

Then I read this piece in the International Business Times,  headlined “Mosque Protests Turn Vicious after Paris Attacks; Muslims Brace For A Backlash They Always Knew Was Coming.” It features non-Muslims outside mosques in Portland, Oregon, yelling things like: “Your Quran is the doctrine of demons! Jesus is going to destroy the Muslims!’ “Islam is a lie!” “You’re nothing more than a pawn of Satan, you demonic Muslim dogs!”

I’m willing to say that no matter what insult someone hurls at your religion, it’s not OK to kill them. But I suspect such conduct toward Muslims is likely to help ISIS reach its recruitment goals.