Terrible things are happening in our world today. Terrorists have bombed Paris, Yola and Beirut, France has declared war against ISIS and people everywhere are worried about the future. So what do we do next? How do we prepare for the terrorist threat?
First, let me tell you a few things about ISIS that you may or may not know. Yes, there are other terrorist groups but ISIS is of the most international concern at the moment.
6 Important Facts About the ISIS Terrorists
They Have A Lot of Names
You will hear about ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) or ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria. Sometimes they are simply IS (Islamic State), which is what they call themselves.
They’re called a lot of nasty things, too, which I won’t repeat. Use your own imagination.
In Arabic, the name is Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham. Translations are rarely simple, so all of the names are simply attempts to translate.
Personally, I like that the French, as well as some Canadian politicians, have started calling them Daesh, because apparently they hate that name. It comes from an acronym made from the Arabic name, and it sounds a lot like the Arabic words for “one who sows discord” and “one who crushes something underfoot”. It’s insulting, and they don’t like it.
They Do Not Represent Muslims
ISIS/Daesh does not represent the majority of Muslims (and I’m saying this as a Christian).
No matter your views of their religion, Muslims believe Allah to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Moses, Elijah and Jesus. The 99 traits of Allah include merciful, compassionate, loving and just. A merciful, just, loving and compassionate god does not rejoice in the death and suffering of innocents.
Before anyone argues that parts of the Quran are violent, please remember that parts of the Bible are violent, misogynist and downright awful, too. We do not, for instance, stone adulterous women or disobedient children anymore. The overwhelming majority of Muslims do the same with the Quran.
In my early 20s, I lived in an area of Ottawa (Canada’s capital city) that had a high Muslim population. From the wonderful lady who would babysit my firstborn to give an overwhelmed new mom a break and who taught me so much about love, relationships and life to the sweet women who attended the same parenting classes that I did, I learned to love and respect these women and to realize that, in so many ways, they were just like me.
I’ll always remember the time we were talking about multiple wives, and I asked how they could stand that. Oh, we don’t argue with the Quran, they insisted. Well, that was not what I was asking.
“Okay, so if your husband went to your home country for a visit and came back with a second wife, what would you do?”
With a twinkle in her eye, one lady said, “Oh, we would have to divorce him. In Canada, that is not legal.” The others all smiled and nodded.
ISIS/Daesh is not even true to the religion that it claims, as is generally the case with terrorist groups. True Muslims do not support them anymore than true Christians support the terrorists who torched the mosque in Ontario, Canada recently, or the horrid little church that pickets funerals. Muslims consider terrorists to be sinners who deserve punishment in eternity.
This is a very important point that many of us are forgetting when we prepare for the dangers facing us. They do not represent the bulk of Islam, although they would like you to think that they do.
I think it would surprise many to discover the love that many Muslims have for Christians and the anger they feel toward the terrorists.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you probably already know this. Did you know that al-Qaeda thought they were too extreme and that their actions were alienating Muslims and hurting their cause?
Yea … that al-Qaeda.
Let’s just imagine the homicidal folks of al-Qaeda stepping slowly and carefully away from the nutjobs.
Now that’s a special type of crazy. And again, I think this is important to keep in mind. They are CUH-RAZY.
Their Goal Isn’t To Destroy the Western World
Granted, it might be a nice side benefit as far as ISIS/Daesh is concerned, but their prime focus is not the western world. They did not form after realizing that French women were voting and driving cars.
Their goal is to create an Islamic State in the middle east where sharia law is strictly enforced and where an all-powerful caliph rules. In such a caliphate, there is no separation between religion and politics and it is dangerous to be an apostate or infidel. The Islamic State has shown itself to be very fond of beheadings in those cases.
Like any sociopath, though, they will attack, hurt and kill anyone in their way, or anyone they perceive to be in their way, or anyone who might possibly be in their way later or … (at this point, see the previous point.)
They Hate Christians
Let me repeat this again – the Muslims I have known consider Christians and Jews to be People of the Book and worthy of respect. I have broken bread with some wonderful Muslims and have learned much from them. We may not agree on some major theological matters, but it is certainly possible to have mutual respect and interfaith dialogue.
ISIS/Daesh isn’t like that, though.
ISIS may not have defeat of the western world as their prime goal, but they definitely hate Christians. No Christians now reside in the city of Mosul, where Christianity has been declared illegal and worthy of death.
They Hate … Well, Everyone
Let’s keep the crazy in mind, okay?
They really hate the United States.
And the other Salafis (who are Sunnis like ISIS, just not violent).
And the oil sheikhs.
And the Shiites, whom they consider apostates.
And Iran, its government and its military.
And Iraq, its government and its military.
And Syria and … you get the idea.
Let’s not forget that they also hate and want to destroy Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaeda.
It should be safe to note that they feel they can execute anyone who disagrees with them. And, frankly, almost no one agrees with them.
With all of that … yes, of course they will be attacking North America.
Let’s not wonder whether or not it will happen, or freak out, but let’s be aware of the fact that they will be coming, and there is likely not much we can do about that. We are not going to be able to keep them out because, for one thing, they are already here. ISIS/Daesh recruits young Westerners and over 1000 of them have already gone to Syria to join as foreign fighters.
Don’t for a moment think that they lack sleeper agents. They are already here. And they don’t look “Muslim” (whatever that would look like). They look like you and me.
That is not intended to frighten you but to make you aware that closing borders and keeping out innocent refugees will do nothing towards making anyone safer.
So what should we do? Keep reading to find out.
Don’t Be Afraid
This is what I see, over and over again, on social media and in conversations. People are terrified, and yes, there are some very good reasons for that. Truthfully, ISIS/Daesh is scary.
However, fear cripples us in far too many ways, and fear often turns to hate.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what they want, because when we fear, and especially when we hate, we don’t think clearly.
When we hate, we are easily manipulated into doing things which do not improve matters. ISIS/Daesh hates everyone and they don’t care if the United States or France bombs thousands of innocent people, including Muslims. To ISIS/Daesh, those innocents are actually apostates worthy of death.
The longer people remain in hopeless refugee camps, the more susceptible they are to radicalization.
So take a deep breath and quell the fear. Please. It’s not helping.
If you are a person of faith, pray. Pray for peace in the Middle East. Pray for those who are being harmed and displaced, that they find refuge, safety and a fresh start among friends.
And while you’re at it, pray for the leaders of this organization. Pray that the Holy Spirit convicts them of wrongdoing and changes their hearts.
No matter who you are, if you are in a safe country, do what you can for the millions of refugees fleeing these sociopaths.
No, they are not the bad guys, they’re trying to get away from the bad guys.
Here in Canada, priority is being given to families, especially female-headed families, and orphaned children. There are so many reasons to help the refugees, but here’s a really big, really important one:
The longer people remain in hopeless refugee camps, the more susceptible they are to radicalization. ISIS/Daesh is relying on that.
A friend of mine made this graphic and I love it! Please share it!
Equating ISIS with Islam means that innocent Muslims are being targeted and treated as the enemy.
The attacks on Paris and in Brussels have created just the result the Islamists want. France and Poland have closed their borders to refugees, a mosque in Canada was torched, and people everywhere are screaming for revenge. This creates a situation in which it is easier for ISIS/Daesh to recruit. In fact, they released a video targeted at the Syrian refugees that insisted the Western world would turn them away and that, even if we did accept them, we’d force them to give up their faith.
We do not need to share theological beliefs in order to stand together as a world united against hate and fear. Do not let them divide us. Prove ISIS wrong.
Diversity is a strength, not a problem, and the xenophobia caused by terrorism weakens us. Among other strengths, refugees and immigrants may have experience in dealing with terrorist attacks, making them valuable in helping our communities prepare and cope.
Get Ready To Bug Out
If you are planning to bug out when things get bad, you might want to bump up your plans. There is a rough time coming. The ISIS terrorists are not going to go down easily, and our world governments are going to respond, unfortunately, with bombing, closed borders and war.
The problem, though, is that most people are caught completely unprepared when it is time to leave the cities. Perhaps, when people are rushing the stores to stock up on bread, eggs and milk (because when a disaster hits, we all want French Toast, right?), when there are long lines at the gas station, and the military or police show up on the streets, then it will be time to leave.
To be honest, by then it will be too late.
Terrorists do not give warnings of their attacks.
Gas shortages are temporary until they’re not.
That is the main problem with disasters – we rarely see them coming.
The best way to survive a terrorist attack is to NOT be where it is happening.
If getting out of Dodge isn’t an option, or if you are in the safest possible place, then assess your surroundings and assets and prepare to hunker down.
Those who live in cities are in the worst danger of being involved in a terrorist attack although I am not positive that anywhere is truly safe anymore.
If you are hunkering down in a city, or near a city, please look into expanding your medical supplies and knowledge. Terrorist attacks always mean that wounded need treatment.
Have your disaster supply bag ready to go at all times so that you can assist at a disaster or evacuate to a safe place.
Be alert for things that are out of place – bags left attended in public places, for example, or people who are wearing too much clothing. In general, pay more attention to your surroundings. Always know where emergency exits are in a building.
Keep your supplies up to date. A major attack could break down the transportation of food and other goods. Make sure that these supplies include comfort foods, games and other “luxuries”. Hunkering down after a disaster is bad enough without some pleasures.
If you do not already do this regularly, practice spending time without services that you normally rely upon. Could you manage if the ATMs were all down, for example? Cell phones? The internet?
In the case of an attack, stay as calm as possible. Pay attention to rescue personnel and law enforcement, who will all be attempting to gain control of the situation.
The attacks on Paris and Brussels make it clear that ISIS/Daesh can be anywhere, using our own children that they have attracted to their fight. This has raised guerilla warfare to a global level and many people are predicting that we are seeing the beginning of World War Three.
We need to be ready.
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