Monday, April 22, 2013

Ianiv Lowy: Exploring The Core Issues Of Islamic Roots

An Op-Ed by Ianiv Lowy

Ianiv Lowy is an Israeli born Canadian citizen. He has a Masters degree in Government, Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security studies from the IDC in Herzliyah Israel. To contact him please send emails to

It’s funny to think that I was planning to write this article two weeks prior to the Boston Marathon bombing. It was something that I had been evaluating, researching and for the most part just simply thinking about for months; and that is why is it that when Muslim children and young adults in the 21st century decide they want to explore their roots they end up flying half way across the world to their home town whether it be it Bahrain, or Saudi Arabia, Chechnya or anywhere else in the Middle East, Gulf region, Caucus region, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc. the list goes on where there are large Arab and/or Muslim populations and then they come home all radicalized? Is it supposed to mean that what they are discovering is that Islam at its ancient, historical and modern cores is defined as grassroots evil, violent and destructive? Truth be told, no religion in the world was formed on the basis of evil or violence or murder or death. They were formed as a means to find peace and to live among others in civilized peace. Islam is no exception, however, it definitely has been lost in translation and its followers are all over the place making their own interpretations, and making their own assumptions with no unity but also no one to blame but themselves, a responsibility they have yet to mature up to.

I’m Jewish and I was born in Israel. I lived in Israel the previous 6 years of my life before moving back to North America. A healthy chunk of the reason I moved back was to rediscover my roots. It certainly wasn't the intentional part, in fact when I first decided to move it was because I was simply adventurous and young and felt like Israel would be a great place for many things like partying and having fun, beaches, great weather, warm people, great food, it’s a better gateway than Canada is to travel to other parts of the world, and so forth. Unknowingly, I was discovering my roots, I learned all about my peoples’ history, my country’s history, the culture, improved on my Hebrew, I even ended up with 2 degrees from Israeli universities. When I discovered my roots, I didn't become radicalized. Yes at times I had true anger and rage towards our Arab and Muslim neighbors, towards the Palestinians, etc. but I wasn't ready to sneak into their marketplaces, schools and busy intersections to go blow myself up and cause mass casualty and havoc. Judaism doesn't have one mention of that, and it’s safe to say all Jews know that. I feel it would also be safe to say that although Catholicism led to the Holy Wars, it was still war fought between militaries and armies, they never averted to terrorism based on causing maximum destruction and civilian causalities. I don’t believe Catholic or Christian churches preach that anywhere. Unfortunately I am not attuned with the Koran but it would be my educated guess to say that it doesn't mention killing yourself to inflict maximum causalities on others who aren't Muslim; it doesn't say make bombs and kill people who live differently than you. It does however; seem to be the only religion with such a conflict of interest that it became such a touchy subject for us all. Jihad has 5 pillars, none of which suggest violence and suicide are the solution. These days though, you might go and ask one Somali cab driver who agrees with you, the next one who will want to change the subject, and the third one who might actually have the nerve to argue with you meaning you might be talking to someone who is on the verge of being radicalized. Then they wonder why Islamophobia exists.

Islam in that sense is a very fragile religion. One man interprets it how he wishes based on the mosque he goes to. That mosque is based on the Imam who is then based on his fundraisers; it’s similar to the way government is structured and other religions. Unfortunately for Islam though, when your roots are located in countries with totalitarian dictatorships that prevent practically any and all forms of modern education, then you will go back to where you were born to discover that you do not have just 3 cab drivers with different explanations and beliefs but more like 3 million different views. Typically what we have been seeing is homegrown terrorists are kids and young adults who are for lack of a better word losers, outsiders with little to no friends, probably bullied and made fun of for all we know because of who they are. They seem to have failed to assimilate into the western world, or at least believe they have. At that point when they return home to find their roots, they practically go out looking for the preachers with the radical viewpoints because it brings them a sense of belonging, of family, of honor and of trust that no one else is giving them. They are fragile and a perfect score for the extremists. Does this mean bad parenting? Partially yes, and the other part I would say is due to the fact that there are still mosques even in Canada and USA that have these Imams preaching this madness, and just like all Jews know about what’s going on their communities, and just like all Catholics and Christians know it too, it alarms me how much people of the Muslim communities seem to keep a mum on it.

In Judaism the last thing we could afford is to be reigned in on because we didn't pay attention to our own children in our own backyards, schools, and synagogues only to find out they laced a backpack full of C4 & TNT and blew up a public building. It would be a complete shame, completely against the religion. It would then make all the anti-Semites and biased activists point the finger at Israel. Most other religions would agree that it is completely against the book. When it comes to Islam however, somehow they keep getting away with these hall passes. They don’t have to explain much except that they are shocked and appalled like everyone else. No one seems to be demanding that they reign in on their own people, since they know and understand them the most. The Muslim communities of the West have to clamp down on the bullshit (pardon my French) that lurks through their streets. I find it extremely hard to believe they don’t know about it. That they don’t know which mosque is preaching what, to whom and by who is to me a whole load of nonsense and blatant ignorance. Why is it that everyone else is urged to do so but they don’t seem to want to tackle the elephant in their room? It’s because the governments of the West want to believe that affirmative action prevails over logical evaluation. They fear upsetting the Muslim communities, making them feel left out; making them feel like assimilation isn't working. The irony here is that they only fear this because it will lead to radicalism. So they make it a taboo to speak about and leave them be. What they seem to fail to comprehend, most likely on purpose, is that these people came from 3rd world dictatorships that prevented them from proper educations, which feeds them lies and teaches them hate. They ran away as fast as they could from those countries, so they should feel privileged to live in the West. They should be thanking our countries for taking them in and should therefore respect all ways of life and laws within the lands in which they now subside. We shouldn't be paying them lip service and treading on thin water to please them, it should be the complete opposite. Otherwise the policy should always be an open door; if you don’t like it here please feel free to go back to the radical Islamic nation state you came from. Take for example what happened in Denmark when the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed were drawn. What gives you the right to start smashing in windows, lighting stores and streets on fire and chanting death to America and hunting the cartoonist down so you can slaughter him? If you don’t like the freedom of expression and freedom of speech with which Denmark has provided you then please there is the door, go back to Saudi Arabia where no such freedoms exist.

I am not preaching violence nor am I preaching retaliation at the very least. What I am preaching is that the Muslim communities must do a lot more than what they currently are to rid the radical elements that exists within their own people, and that western governments must not only help them to do so but must put extreme pressure on them to do so. They need to recall why they ran away from the tough and usually treacherous life they once had in the Gulf or Middle East or whichever 3rd world dictatorship and be extremely appreciative and ready to help and make change in their new 1st world lifestyle, otherwise they will never truly be a part of the educated world and Al Qaeda will never cease to exist.

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