Is All Morality Gone? Condemning ISIS, and Beyond, in a World of Suffering

Monday, October 6, 2014 - 6:18am

Is All Morality Gone? Condemning ISIS, and Beyond, in a World of Suffering

Where do we stand with respect to suffering?

What do we have to say when hatred and violence finds a ready audience in global images, and love and tenderness are exiled to a private realm?

What does it mean to be rooted in a prophetic tradition of Amos, Jesus, and Muhammad in a world of almost overwhelming suffering?

What does it mean to be morally responsible for one another?

These are questions I sit with a great deal these days. No immediate answers do I have to offer, but the sitting with these inquiries, the grappling is itself part of my spiritual practice.

I am often reminded of the wise, challenging, pathos-filled words of the great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel:

“...morally speaking,
there is no limit to the concern one must feel
for the suffering of human beings,

that indifference to evil is worse than evil itself,
that in a free society,
some are guilty,
but all are responsible.”

Some are guilty.
All are responsible.

A woman holds a child after crossing the border from Syria into Turkey. They are fleeing from fighters of ISIS, who have surrounded the Kurdish border town of Kobani (also called Ayn Al-Arab), which ISIS has surrounded on three sides.

(Carsten Koall / Getty Images.)

I wonder what it means to be responsible in a world of ISIS, in a world of American Empire, in a world of one-fifth of humanity living in extreme poverty, in a world of sound bites where “if it bleeds it leads.”

I wonder if we can have a response more principled than simply saying that “the actions of ISIS do not really represent the vast majority of Muslims around the world.” True, but not enough. I wonder if we can conceive of a response that begins with the welfare, dignity, and honor of “the least of God’s children” (echoing the 25th chapter of Matthew), rather than covering the collective behinds of a Muslim North American population. I wonder if we could have a response to ISIS, to Israeli bombings, to Hamas rockets, to American drones that would begin by looking at life from the vantage point of families being bombed instead of the reputation of a community thousands of miles away.

Naiveté is not an option; I am not unmindful of the fact that there is a chorus of Islamophobes wondering why Muslims in America do not speak out against terrorist activities. It doesn’t seem to matter how many Muslim organizations vociferously condemn terrorism, the chorus of “we can’t hear you” grows ever louder. (Yes, I wonder if the more appropriate question is not why are Muslims not speaking, but rather why are people not hearing/listening.) So the conversation about moral responsibility and accountability has a political consequence for Muslims, when there is a chorus that wants to hold Muslims in America responsible for the actions of ISIS, Boko Haram, and al-Qaeda. This consequence is not abstract, but a matter of surveillance, profiling, harassment, hate-mail, and worse.

I even have questions about the appropriateness of Muslims pointing out how ISIS actions violate the spirit and the letter of Islam. What makes us think that ISIS is actually informed about the rulings of Islam, when some very conservative scholars of Islam in the West have reached out to them, only to be shocked at how little any of them actually know about Islam? I wonder why Islam has to be the right framework in countering ISIS (and beyond), as opposed to decency, compassion, human rights, etc.

Nevertheless, it is certainly true that Muslims worldwide have condemned in clear and unambiguous terms the atrocities of ISIS as violations of Islam. An open letter to the self-proclaimed leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was signed by religious leaders from Egypt, Jordan, Nigeria, United States, Turkey, Yemen, Palestine, Malaysia, Portugal, France, Indonesia, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Bulgaria, Sweden, UK, Germany, Iraq, India, Bosnia, Pakistan, Sudan, Iceland, Mauritania, and Kurdistan.

Among other points, the lengthy letter states:

“It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors, and diplomats; hence it is forbidden to kill journalists and aid workers.”

And:

“It is forbidden in Islam to harm or mistreat in any way Christians or any ‘People of the Scripture.’”

Arguably the most influential North American Muslim leader, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, dismissed ISIS from the point of view of the prophetic tradition in a recent Friday sermon:

These types of initiatives deserve to have far greater publicity.

At his recent address at the United Nations, President Obama said something important:

“We have reaffirmed that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace. Muslims the world over aspire to live with dignity and a sense of justice. And when it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them — there is only us, because millions of Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of our country.”

Yet, there is a second part of Obama’s speech that I am struggling with:

“Second, it is time for the world — especially Muslim communities — to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of al Qaeda and ISIL.”

At one level, he is exactly right, of course. In fact, there is a Qur’anic notion of critique that compels Muslims to begin critique with one’s own self.

O ye faithful,
be you securers of justice,
witnesses for God,
even though it be against yourselves,
or your parents and kinsmen,
whether the man be rich or poor….

~Qur’an 4:135

Many Muslim commentators have noted the impulse that the mandate to speak the truth and stand up for justice in the sight of God begin with one’s own self, with one’s own family, with one’s own community. So yes, we as Muslims do have a moral responsibility to speak against ISIS, to speak the atrocities of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and the gender apartheid of Saudis.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

And yet there are four factors that complicate the above for me, as I morally grapple with the implication of all of this.

1) First, I am thinking of the connections and disconnects between Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. A recent well-publicized op-ed about Netanyahu’s recent visit to the UN began with:

“Targeting and blaming Jews living in the United States or Europe for the actions of Israel is blatant anti-Semitism. For as a political state, albeit a 'Jewish' one, Israel clearly does not represent all Jews, nor does it embody Judaism.”

If you go to the above description and replace “Jews” with "Muslims," you get a startling realization of what is happening on a daily level in America. Every American Muslim organization (and almost every community leader) has had to spend the better part of the last 13 years stating that we “hate and condemn” Muslim extremist actions in the Middle East. If targeting American Jews for actions of Israel is anti-Semitism, why should targeting American Muslims for actions of Muslim terrorist organizations be treated any different?

2) When you spend your life condemning, there is little time left to offer something constructive.

Muslims have spent so much time telling people what we are not (“not about terrorism, not about extremism, not about gender oppression, not about violence”), that there is little spiritual energy, time, capital, and resources left to state what we do want to be about: where does beauty, justice, love, community, transformation fit in. It is as if the best that some entity called “Islam” is allowed to stand for is simply “do no evil.” We have to hang on to the audacious faith that religion can be more than simply a condemnation of evil, but also serve as a force for good, for justice, for truth, for goodness.

3) I am mindful of the fact that much of the Islamophobic discourse of today holds Muslims in the West accountable for atrocities of ISIS. In that context, it makes a fundamental mistake: Heschel’s bold proposition is that few (ISIS) are guilty, all are responsible. The Islamophobic attacks (Bill Maher, Sam Harris) say: few (ISIS) are guilty, all (Muslims) are responsible. The Islamophobic comments of Maher and others fail to realize that in the prophetic tradition of Heschel, King, and Muhammad it’s not that Muslims are responsible, but rather that we — all of us — are all responsible. Yes, few are guilty, and yes Muslims have a Qur’anic responsibility to being by addressing questions of justice first and foremost to our own community before addressing anyone else. But in the prophetic tradition, all are responsible. We are all responsible. All of us, Muslims and Jews and Christians and Hindus and Buddhists and people of no faith and people of occasional faith, we are all responsible.

President Obama has been talking about the impressive international coalition to fight ISIS. I also wonder what responsibility all of us, yes Muslims but not just Muslims, have.

4) If Muslims have a responsibility to speak out against ISIS, and I believe we do, I wonder if President Obama’s framework would also leave any room for Muslims and indeed all of us to speak out with the same vehemence, with the same pain, with same urgent concern, about the victims of the American drones, about the victims of the allies of the United States? Can we mourn Palestinians? Can we mourn Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin? Can we mourn drone victims in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia? Can we mourn the 2.5 million Americans caught in a penal industrial complex? Can we speak their names? Or is it that some human beings are relegated to the realm that Fanon called the “non-persons of history”?

I applaud formation of an international coalition to stop ISIS’ atrocities, yet I wonder where this international coalition was when 200,000 human beings have been slaughtered and millions more made homeless/refugees in Syria.

I wonder where this international coalition was when tens of thousands of people have been ethnically cleansed in Myanmar. I wonder where this international coalition was this summer in Gaza, when 500 children were bombed to death.

Mainly I wonder: what makes some human suffering worthy of forming an international coalition, but not all? What makes some causes so urgent that we need to accept our “responsibility,” but not all.

Let me end with another word of Rabbi Heschel.

"Is all mercy gone?"

In these days of suffering and brutality, I often harken back to the prophetic tradition, one that rises “like a scream in the middle of the night.” I often go back in search of what the best of our Jewish, the best of our Christian, and the best of our Muslim faith has to offer us today, at this very moment of almost overwhelming global suffering. Where have those who stand in the footsteps of the prophets stood in times of such agony, and what is the cry of their heart?

Here is what I found in Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, as he introduced Martin Luther King in the famed April 4th, 1967 Riverside Church speech. Take out his reference to Vietnam and put in Gaza, put in Iraq, put in Syria, put in Pakistan, put in America, put in each and every single one of our governments. The voice of the prophets speaks to us now as it spoke to us then.

Rabbi Heschel stated:

"We are pierced to the core with pain, and it is our duty as citizens to say no to the subversiveness of our government, which is ruining the values we cherish.... The blood we shed in Vietnam makes a mockery of all our proclamations, dedications, celebrations.

Has our conscience become a fossil,
is all mercy gone?
If mercy, the mother of humility, is still alive as a demand, how can we say yes to our bringing agony to that tormented country?

We are here because our own integrity as human beings is decaying in the agony and merciless killing done in our name.
In a free society, some are guilty and all are responsible."

Is all mercy gone?
We may not be guilty, but we, all of us, are responsible.

Some of us are going to seek to bring about this change, so urgently needed, by engaging the system from within the corridors of powers. Good.

Some of us are going to seek to bring about this change, so urgently needed, by pushing back against a broken dysfunctional system from outside, and daring to dream of another world that is possible. Good.

But we are all responsible.

The question is not, has never been, where God is.
The question is where are we, and what are we doing.
We are all responsible.

That responsibility begins with our own community, but can’t stop until it washes over the whole of humanity.

Is all morality gone?
I refuse to believe it is.

As long as there are those left willing to connect their own suffering to the suffering of others, who see their own humanity mingling with the humanity of others, who are wiling to perpetually expand their circle of concern to encompass all of us, there is hope for us yet.

The hour is late, the suffering is at hand, yet there is hope as long as there are a few human beings capable of every day compassion and courage.

Editors’ Note: October 10, 2014 — A grammatical change was made to
The Inside Art column on July 25, about a planned exhibition of the works of the Renaissance painter Piero di Cosimo, started with a description of the artist’s life and eccentricities. That passage improperly used specific language and details from a Wikipedia article without attribution; it should not have been published in that form. (Editors learned of the problem after publication from a post on FishbowlNY.)

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Omid Safi

is a columnist for On Being. His column appears every Thursday.

He is Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center. He is the past Chair for the Study of Islam, and the current Chair for Islamic Mysticism Group at the American Academy of Religion. In 2009, he was recognized by the University of North Carolina for mentoring minority students in 2009, and won the Sitterson Teaching Award for Professor of the Year in April of 2010.

Omid is the editor of the volume Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism, which offered an understanding of Islam rooted in social justice, gender equality, and religious and ethnic pluralism. His works Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam, dealing with medieval Islamic history and politics, and Voices of Islam: Voices of Change were published 2006. His last book, Memories of Muhammad, deals with the biography and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad. He has forthcoming volumes on the famed mystic Rumi, contemporary Islamic debates in Iran, and American Islam.

Omid has been among the most frequently sought speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in The New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN and other international media. He leads an educational tour every summer to Turkey, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trip is open to everyone, from every country. More information at Illuminated Tours.

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Reflections

This is a profoundly beautiful piece of writing—I read it through three times and still I am struggling to put my impression into words. I also refuse to believe that all morality is gone. It is there, waiting a voice loud enough to pierce the din of all that is modern life. We are all responsible, and although the apathy used to shrug off that responsibility has existed in all generations, I too hold out hope that we as individuals will begin to expand our circle of concern. Thank you for writing this.

dear Michael, thank you. That's the voice of the agony of the "prophet", the "is all morality gone" is not a declaration of finality, but rather a call to rise up, to resurrect, to link, to connect.

Great questions Omid. To the one about 'what is the prophetic tradition', I think an important part of it is to remember to include as many voices in it as possible. Usually, when I here 'prophetic tradition' invoked, someone is trying to highlight one particular prophet to the exclusion of others.

thank you Jwolforth, by prophetic tradition I mean a broad movement, from Amos and Jeremiah to John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth, to Rabbi Heschel and King to Cornel West and others. It's a commitment to find God in the broken places, then and now.

Well said, thank you.

I do not understand people's fascination with "drones." Are we in favor of war -- are we in favor of shedding the blood of another as sacrifice to our own desire, or are we not?

If we are not in favor of taking another's life, then should we not be standing in larger rejection of things like land mines that indiscriminately kill and maim many more today than any other type of weapon... or of things like unguided missiles lobbed uncontrolled into areas occupied only by those who are not militarily involved in a fight?

I would truly like to know what makes a "drone" worse in many people's eyes, when it is, at least, a controlled weapon attacking a specifically identified target and is used intentionally to minimize harm to the uninvolved. If we condone war at all,I do not understand why people have taken to attacking the use of the least destructive means of carrying it out.

Of course, I have a theory why "drones" are so hated... I suspect that to the unknowing who unaware of the very highly controlled nature of their use, they seem random and unnecessarily destructive (when, in fact, their purpose and use are the opposite of that)... and I suspect that for the knowing, allowing their high level of control is too much an admission of their own involvement -- of their own guilt -- in the result of the attack. So, it's not really that I have no understanding of the hatred, it's that I find it apalling that many would prefer a return to an opposite way of imposing destruction, when we've seen the opposite in things like the fire bombing of Dresden and the nuclear attacks of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

..wonderfully written. A challenge to those who would be challenged..

Thank you, my friend, for your profound moral critique. Your words always inspire and cause me to probe more deeply into my own judgments and prejudices, always encourage me to believe we are so much more capable of compassion than we have shown ourselves to be. Thank you for giving voice to our collective human cry for justice.

Thank you dear Tom, thank you for your courage in walking this path of compassion. We have to live this everyday.

Thank you! I am reminded of the words of Mother Teresa, "The problem with the world is that the circle of family is drawn too narrowly."

Thank you Mike. We're called to keep deepening and expanding this circle of family.

I too am struggling to voice my thoughts about this piece. I welcome the challenge to wrestle with the questions posed and find myself profoundly grateful for the expression of hope contained within.

I too am struggling to voice my thoughts about this piece. I welcome the challenge to wrestle with the questions posed and find myself profoundly grateful for the expression of hope contained within.

God bless you Omid. I could not put this away for later reading, as I so often do, to return much later, if at all. The questions you brought would not allow that. We are all responsible to each other. Morality is not gone, and each of us that can feel the suffering is obliged, even in the smallest of ways, to say and do what we can.

Thank you for this. I appreciated a great deal within it. In your 3rd point of "factors complicating speaking out against ISIS", you mention how we are all responsible, to the point of nullification. You even mention Buddhists. So, yes, I see your point, but if it is necessary to take such a large view every time we speak about "our" responsibility then it is clearly still too difficult to simply look at ourselves. When we can write a strong statement against violence, which the "factors that make this difficult", then we might be getting someplace.

Also re #2 and being concerned about being negative. If you are a practicing Muslims, the beauty is there for you, what concern have you with a couple of stong "don'ts". This is only a problem for people who do not practice, and only info on Islam is this list of dos and don'ts.

And finally you suggest that for Muslims to take on ISIS - a clearly genocidal group of lost and fake Muslims - it would only be fair if the world take on Israel. That kind of conflation is ridiculous and frankly another red herring for our people.

There is a non physical aspect of violence that fuels violence ,its nicy explained by Mahatma Gandhis Grandson Arun Gandhi in recent talk with Abby Martin that prorovides solution to all conflict by removig anmosity and hatred in strife ..while Mr Bomber has no credibility he does opposite of what he says about muslim community and has no accountability whatsoever

Oh man. This is an amazing article. Thankyou for writing this. The Obama administration has successfully bombed 7 muslim countries and then the blame is pinned on islam. No one dares question the 8 years of military occupation in iraq to lead to the impoverish desperate measures they've resorted to. I condemn their actions but I know they're human beings who are deeply suffering in their heart.

Thank you for this, Omid. It addresses many issues that I (along with my daughter) have been grappling with for some time now. Yes, we are all responsible, to and for one another, regardless of faith or ethnicity or whatever. Why is this? Because we are all human beings!

I have just completed the latest manifesto for the International peace movement I have helped to catalyze ... when I scroll down my Facebook page and espy your latest on the notion of morality and accountability, that seems to dovetail with my own reflections. Here are mine (for what its worth).

Tangerine Evolution Update:

Reintroducing the notion of Deviance and Accountability into society.

Tolerance does not mean everything is relative. There is a big push among the new entrepreneurial and new thought movements that has to do with keeping energy positive, and that bringing to the for so-called "negative emotions" like guilt should be avoided as they lower our collective energy as a community.

I would agree that guilt is a somewhat useless emotion that doesn't contribute to the health of the person experiencing the guilt, nor does it do much for the person who may have been abused by the individual who has willfully caused harm, and is subsequently experiencing the guilt.

I suggest however, that the antidote is not to promote an "anything goes" atmosphere where everybody feels they have full latitude to do what ever they like to whomever they wish, regardless of how it harms another.

I suggest that we create a social climate where there is a collective stigma for people willfully and intentionally causing harm, with insensitivity, selfishness and even malice; that they are made to feel that such behavior is deviant and shameful.

This way, people will choose to resist harm and the consequent feelings of being ostracized, shunned, and seen as deviant.

I believe that the choice of whether to feel guilt or not should be decided upon prior to an act of harm, not at the point where the harm has already occurred.

In a society where there is a healthy social pact about what is deviant and what isn't - having mainly to do with behavior that is causing willful and malicious harm to another without their consent - will ward off a lot of collective guilt, and promote self-confidence and esteem in the community at large.

there is something about chopping off the head of an innocent that changes the whole concept of suffering...

Inspired writing! Wish there was a way to get it on the Op-Ed pages of NYT or WP. Thankyou for sublimating agony and outrage into a moral meditation for everyone

Dear Omid, Are you asking that we forgive brutality and immorality, that we have mercy with killers, that we excuse evil? I believe you are. And that is legitimate. Mandela asked millions of South Africans who had been treated with brutality by the apartheid government, laws and white South Africans to forgive and build a new society, based on justice and mutual respect. And they agreed. Gandhi asked millions of Indians who had been treated very poorly by Englishmen and Englishwomen protected by the British Empire to forgive and build a new nation. And they agreed. He also asked his Muslim countrymen to live in harmony and in one nation with Hindus, and most of them disagreed and so came into existence Pakistan. Those Muslims did not agree. The question before us is not whether we can forgive the colonialism of the past, the imperialism of the present, or brutal actions taken by this or that party, but whether we will remain silent when brutal acts are reported to the whole world, in any place, by any people. We can only forgive injustice when it is stopped, and when justice is restored. Similarly, you cannot ask the world to forgive ISIS its brutality as long as it continues and it can only be stopped by concerted action. Of course the world will expect that Muslims will speak out against the brutality of ISIS. Not just because this is the human thing to do, but because Muslims want the world to see Islam as a religion of peace, as a religion that is compatible with the other nations of the world, and as long as any movement or government claims to be Islamic but practices brutality, it must be condemned, as contrary to Islam, as kafir. In our time the kafirs are not polytheists, they are killers. We can live with theological diversity. We can't live with murderers on the loose, let alone, murderers in charge.

Thank you for providing such a thoughtful examination of the cognitive dissonance plaguing our tiny planet - where discrimination against ethnic groups is taken for granted and where Islam is constantly and irrationally demonized. I hope that you will soon produce a video containing the same level of thoughtful analysis so your message of tolerance can reach an even wider audience.

Symptoms of rottenness

One only has to see the percentage of Youtube videos which deal with the issue of Burqa to see how far Muslims (esp the scholars) have got their priorities wrong.

More saddening is the people who come to the fold of Islam and talk about the greatness of Burqa in their very first interview as if Burqa is the essence of Muslim faith.

We see the definition of good Muslim in Quran in many places.Allah highlights virtues like remembrance of God, Reflecting upon things and praising him, being humble,sincere,merciful and so on.

Now the dress disease has spread too deep.I am coming across the so called devout women who wear socks and gloves to hide their fingers telling they are aurah.

Is this issue a tangent to what we are discussing. NO.This is a symbol of rottenness.

American abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison (a personal hero) once stated that "my country is the world; my countrymen are mankind." Your timely (and well-written) words here remind me of his pleas for solidarity. Where any are suffering, we are all called to do what we can; I am my brother's keeper. Thank you.

This is a beautifully written piece that everyone should really read. Non-Muslim Americans have become fearful and hateful towards all Muslims for the works of but a few extremists. I think it's important to note that these extremists base their actions in the name of Islam, which has caused much of this fear and hate, albeit uneducated. It is important that we as Americans work past our ignorances and realize that the responsibility falls on us all. No religion, least of all Christianity, is free from innocent blood on its hands.
The idea of morality being gone is certainly not a new one. For 23 years, the men, women, and children of Afghanistan were wrecked war but no one answered the pleas from within. Until 1999, when the women of RAWA risked their lives to video the brutal, public killing of a woman accused of killing her husband. The video sparked the documentary of Beneath the Veil in June 2001, and then after the tragedies of September 11, 2001, Afghanistan had everyone's attention.
I'm sure there are 100 of other examples.
Morality at the individual level still exists, but the line fades with the morality of the masses.

I was caught by surprise to realize a sensing of relief inside of me as I finished your article the first time through. I have been carrying a deep frustration for a long time now. A frustration that somehow I have not been fully allowed to participate in this global conversation because it was "too far away" or "not my religion" or "just too big for me to make a difference". Your words are permission-giving. If this is,indeed, the responsibility of all of us, then I have permission for it to become much more deeply my responsibility. I have known this cognitively, but am now able to internalize it much more deeply emotionally. It also has given me a simple idea as to how I can participate. Thank you, Omid.

Thank you for this article. What I appreciate most is your understanding of prophetic voices. In addition to what you write, I also think that if we as individuals are not able to see our neighbour, whoever they are, as our equal, we will never experience peace in ourselves or the world. We are taught to hate and fear those who are different from us. We judge others as a way of protecting ourselves from something-rarely are we able to state what this something is. This ultimately separates us from others and creates an illusion of fear. The hardest thing to do is to see another as an equal- as a brother or sister. It goes against everything we are taught. I believe the prophetic voices we appreciate so much today come from those who embrace(d) the other as their equal. If we don't have peace in our hearts, how can we recognise it elsewhere?

May you be blessed as your words have blessed me today. I will come back to this and think about what I can do to live peace and compassion. I agree with you that we all have to live our positive beliefs instead of just declaring what we are against. Focusing on not doing wrong can leave one feeling empty. This was the focus of the Christian church I was raised in and I just felt I was lacking a guide for how to livewhen how not to live was where the emphasis was placed. If all that is presented of Islam is that it does not support evil, that is also a weak image. I will only be attracted to a religion through its beauty as reflected in the ideals and works of love and compassion of its followers.I feel a strong need to learn what is good in the world and then reflect that goodness back to others. I feel that compassion in your words. Thank you.

I say 'yes' to this. No, I don't have the energy or time to work fully on behalf of every problem, every injustice, every need. I do have opportunity to work on what's right in front of me, what's inside myself, what I feel called toward. To align my life with love and truth and beauty and gratitude and justice. To contribute something positive to the story we are jointly creating in our lives.

Harvard Students Claim America Is A Bigger Threat To World Peace Than ISIS

The succinctness of the question generating such a multitude of responses is the wisdom of this wonderful, inclusive piece of writing. First from Carl and now from you--thank you for articulating what it means to be morally present in this world.

Thank you for sharing this most powerful sermon by Shaykh Hamza. I was deeply moved and in tears at the end as he so eloquently gave voice to all compassionate human beings. I pray his message reverberates widely and amongst all religions and I am deeply touched and reassured to hear his words. May the love of the prophet prevail in these troubled times.

your moral equivalence between ISIS and Israel is extremely disturbing. Even more so, is the fact that you mentioned the Gaza conflict many times without mentioning Hamas. A conflict Israel neither started nor wanted and offered andn kept at least 10 ceasefires throughout its duration even while hamas continued to send hundreds of rockets into populated cities with the goal of killing as much civilians as possible.

But you are absolutely right. If a coalition had gone into Gaza and dismantled its terrorist government, it's similar groups including offshoots of ISIS and Al Quaeda and stopped their enablers. Removed those thousands of missiles that it shot purposely into israeli civilian areas. Then I can only imagine how many innocent Gazan children would have been saved. How much destruction would have been prevented.