CPM: Is it fair to draw a parallel between what we’re seeing in Islam right now and the French Revolution? The elites abused their status, their wealth and their power and the people, behind radical revolutionaries, rose up in an incredibly violent way. They were almost fascist in their revolutionary zeal, but it was because of the tyranny that was inflicted on them from the very few at the top.
Deen: Yeah, there is a parallel to a degree, but what I’m saying here, is that it’s easier for groups like ISIS to recruit people, like kids.
For example, the biggest thing in Islam, is not materialistic wealth. It’s your actions and your deeds. What you do in this life is going to get you what you deserve in the next life.
So maybe you want to do something more than just accumulate material wealth. Or maybe you got in trouble once and you’ve never been in a position to do something greater. It’s not really hard for Daesh to recruit these people, “Hey, look, there’s something going on that’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to do something.”
CPM: That’s going to help your next life?
Sayed: Right. They’re skewed, obviously, they’re misleading people.
Deen: But that’s why it’s easier for them to recruit. Plus, if they want to build a caliphate, they don’t need fighters. Fighters are low-hanging fruit. They need to build a foundation to build a city, to build a caliphate. They need lawyers, doctors. They need to build a foundation for that city to function normally.
They’re not looking at fighters anymore. They’re looking at other people who can make the cities work.
Some of these people, maybe they’re feeling ostracized, because of what maybe, Donald Trump is saying or because you have some stupid commentator reading something out of the Koran. They’re asking themselves, “Well what the hell? Why do I want to be here? I might as well go somewhere where I’m accepted.”
Sayed: It says in the Koran that there’s no compulsion of religion. People should willingly come to Islam, not because of force or economic interest, because someone sees, “Wow that man or that woman, is really noble, really honorable — what makes them act that way?” So there is no forced conversion.
You can get radicalized when you get exhausted and vulnerable, when you withdraw from your family, but many of the families don’t know. Like with the tragedy in San Bernadino, the indicator is when your son who goes to Friday prayers stops going to Friday prayer. When he stops visiting the mosque for two years, that is a huge indicator, because, as a man, one thing — and I’m not an avid mosque-goer, I go when I can — is that Friday prayers are very important. If you miss three Friday prayers in a row without a valid excuse, you are considered a non-believer. If you make one a month, you know, one every three weeks, you’re good.
For a man to miss Friday prayers when he knows the importance of that, that’s a huge red flag, because what are you doing? [Note: According to reports, Farook only stopped going to mosque a few weeks before the attack.]
The biggest tragedy was they had a six-month-old daughter. We already talked about important a daughter is, it’s a blessing. So to intentionally orphan your children, that’s a huge no-go, you don’t do that.
Deen: I saw, on CNN, some FBI profiler lady profiling Tashfeen Malik, but she’s comparing her to a common criminal. Now granted Malik’s ideology might be perverse, but it’s still an ideology, she believed in it.
CPM: There’s an internal logic.
Deen: There’s an internal logic, but the way the profiler was profiling her, it was like she was profiling a common criminal.
Sayed: In Islam, if you kill someone, it’s as if you killed all of humanity. If you save someone, it’s as if you saved all of humanity. Al-Qaeda’s big thing was suicide bombers and it says in the Koran, straightforwardly, suicide under any pretense is forbidden hell fire.
A lot of scholars got that message out, so, in response, terrorists now know not to do suicides — they want to have the same effect, but without alienating knowledgeable Muslims. So now, it’s a lone wolf or, instead of blowing up a vest, they want to leave a bunch of pressure cookers and die in a shootout, a righteous shootout.
CPM: Like the old “suicide by cop.”
Deen: The beauty of Islam is I don’t need an imam to tell me how to interpret anything. He is supposed to be the scholar and if I don’t understand something I can go to him, but if I can read it, I can interpret it the way I want, I don’t need him to tell me…
CPM: …it’s not like a Catholic priest, there’s no conduit to God.
Deen: There’s no conduit, I can do it on my own. So if they’ve made up their mind that they’re going to do the suicide bombing or something like that, they’re not going to look at it as a suicide. They’re going to look at it as doing something to help the religion or help the cause of martyrdom.
Christopher Paul Meyer writes noir fiction and nonfiction. He is a former bouncer, firefighter, soldier, comic, prison chaplain and actor. When not writing, he likes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, improv comedy and directing political rants at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. His book, Icarus Falling: A True Story About the Broken Dreams, Broken Heart and Broken Bones of a Nightclub Bouncer in LA, is currently available on Amazon.com. He welcomes any questions, comments or snide remarks at www.christopherpaulmeyer.com.