IS’s cruelty and methods of savagery trouble Muslims before anyone else. Even before the ruthless killing of foreign journalists, IS was spreading terror in the region, and is applying the same methods of savagery now. Serious activity is clearly needed if IS’s terror is to come to an end. However, the U.S. is repeating the same error of the last 100 years and imagining that it can achieve results through airstrikes.
Yet in the same way that airstrikes strengthen terror rather than finishing it off, they are also a dangerous tactic that leads to considerable losses of civilian life. Some superficial thinkers imagine that supporting airstrikes is the only way of showing opposition to terror. Some defeatist types support the idea without considering the consequences, for the sake of pleasing certain other parties. However, murder can never be resolved by another murder. The way to stop the deaths is not to kill more people.
Aerial bombardments are a form of mass punishment and harm everyone, all too often making no distinctions between civilians, killers, innocent people, women, children, the elderly and the sick; they are an unethical tactic. Under democratic systems, the most crazed killers are caught first and then brought to face justice and tried. Yet far from locating the murderer and putting him on trial, airstrikes kill dozens of people in an area in a single moment, and all in the name of punishing a single culprit and most of the time the ‘criminal’ concerned is not even among those killed.
The commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ in the Torah and the Gospels also appears in the Qur’an. God tells Muslims that killing one person is equivalent to killing all mankind. Someone who truly believes and abides by the Qur’an will make the maximum effort to protect a single person’s life. Therefore, Muslims cannot advocate aerial bombardments and espouse the idea that ‘there is nothing wrong with the accidental killing of one or two people in such operations.’ The path a Muslim must follow is that of an intellectual struggle, and the language he uses must be that of love alone.
IS’s perspective is a polytheistic one incompatible with the Qur’an, and it therefore carries out persecution. That wickedness can of course be eliminated by telling people of the truth of that false belief. People must therefore be told that violence, oppression and compulsion are incompatible with and banned by the Qur’an. They must also be shown, with verses, that freedom of belief is part of the moral values of Islam. They must be intensively taught the errors and impasses of their polytheistic beliefs.
Only in that way can the savagery caused by IS be eliminated and the ideological foundation that attracts thousands of young people to radicalism be done away with.
Insisting on airstrikes, when a rational and legitimate means of resolving the problem is otherwise available, will merely increase material and psychological losses. Buildings destroyed in the bombing, damaged infrastructure and uninhabitable towns all represent a matchless opportunity for terrorist groups. No logical person should advocate giving terrorists such a gift by spending $7-8 million a day on bombs.
To date, the U.S and other coalition forces have carried out more than 200 aerial assaults, but these attacks costing millions of dollars have not caused IS to withdraw. On the contrary, the organization is still pushing forward in Iraq and Syria.
An interview recently aired on CNN with former members of IS made it clear, with solid examples, that airstrikes are having no effect on the organization. IS abandoned its bases shortly before the U.S. operations, and changed its structure of traveling in convoys. Such methods prevent it from becoming a target. The targeting of oil refineries and factories is also no deterrent to IS because these are not IS’s only sources of revenue; therefore, not IS’s material resources but rather the factories, refineries, production zones are being targeted in such a way as to paralyze the lives of the local people.
Bombing buildings that contain no IS elements and causing the deaths of civilians will clearly not put a stop to IS. People who accept what they are indoctrinated with rather than thinking deeply for themselves must see this truth. It is particularly wrong for Muslims to support such mass killing.
It must not be forgotten that our Prophet (pbuh) used methods of “discourse and explanation and calling to the truth” in his relations with the pagans of Mecca, who had made a tradition out of violence. He did not use those weapons against them when he captured Mecca. He never thought along the lines of, “Since these people are pagans, since these people are prone to violence, they must be destroyed en masse.” IS today acts on a pagan mindset: That pagan mindset can be changed by setting out the truth, just like our Prophet (pbuh) did. Trying to deter people from using violence, making no distinction between those involved in terrorist activities and those who are not, when the option described above is available, will merely provoke further terror.
Those who imagine that IS’s terrorism and extremism can be brought to heel by guns and bombs need to have a careful look back at what has happened to date during the Afghanistan operation. Far from putting an end to terror, military operations caused it to grow and ultimately gave rise to IS, whose acts of savagery the whole world is now witnessing with horror.
The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He may be followed at @Harun_Yahya and www.harunyahya.com .