Root Cause of Muslim Terrorism-Lack of Religious Oversight

We are told that Islam is a religion of peace and those who terrorize in the name of Islam are not Muslims. They are radicalized youth. They are poor, uneducated, unemployed. No. That is not true. Whatever else they might be, they are Muslims.

How do I know? Because they say so. There is no screening by religious leaders. Nothing. Yet these Imams take no responsibility for those who murder in the name of Allah.

Here is how to become a Muslim. Please note that Muslim witnesses are not required to see your conversion “because God is your ultimate Witness.” Islam also offers the convert a clean slate erasing all sins acquired prior to becoming a Muslim.

“First, quietly, to yourself, make the intention to embrace Islam as your faith and say with clarity of intention, firm faith and belief:”

“I bear witness that there is no deity but Allah.”


“And I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

“Someone may say that you have to do a course or obtain a certificate to become a Muslim.” This is incorrect. “If someone advises you to delay your conversion to Islam. This is also incorrect.”

“Now that you are a Muslim take a shower, symbolically cleansing yourself of your past life. (Some people prefer to shower before making the declaration of faith above; either way is acceptable.) Last of all learn how to pray and practice Islam in your daily life.”

Now compare “converting” or as one site said “reverting” to Islam to the process involved in converting to Catholicism. Coming to Catholicism takes at least a year. At least. Judaism starts at 6 months but most conversions require a minimum of a year and you must find a Rabbi willing to mentor you. Someone who wants to become a Jew must convince the Rabbi and often the Rabbi will ask “So, what’s wrong with your religion?”

It is during that prolonged period of time that the potential convert learns about the religion, the prayers, the customs and rituals, living their daily lives in their new religion. This time gives them the opportunity to develop friendships and a community, and be sure that this is the path they want to take. When the day comes when one takes on the new belief, there is a congregation waiting to embrace them and mentor them. This is a serious life-changing event and it requires time for introspection.

This is much different from the reception new Muslim converts receive. According to Lorne Dawson, a University of Waterloo, Canada, expert on radicalization the problem has to do with inclusivity. “Inclusivity is key,” he said. “Converts to Islam — and especially those who later radicalize — commonly report that while their conversion was encouraged, they did not feel welcome in the often very ethnic mosques and communities with which they tried to associate.” As a result, they go “searching on and off-line for a Muslim home and that can be the kind of de-cultured fundamentalist forms of Islam associated with the promotion of jihadism.”

And during their search they read Surahs like these:

“And thou seest [Jews and Christians] vying one with another in sin and transgression and their devouring of illicit gain. Verily evil is what they do. Why do not the rabbis and priests forbid their evil speaking and their devouring of illicit gain…evil is their handiwork.”


O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and Christian for friends.”


“The most vehement of mankind in hostility [are] the Jews and the idolaters.”

Is it any wonder that Islam can be misconstrued?

Following the terrorist attack in Ottawa, Imam Samy Metwally, leader of one of Ottawa’s largest mosques, expressed concern over the spike in the numbers of young men coming to Islam after Zehaf-Bibeau murdered Cpl. Cirillo. Not enough concern to say no to any of the potential converts. He said he questioned the intentions of some of the men, but he didn’t turn them away. He tried to explain Islam to them before they converted. The problem is that he may only see them once before they become Muslims. In the next breath he expressed concern that newly converted Muslims are open to “radicalization” from the Internet.

Well some Imams here in Canada are concerned about the number of “radicalized” Muslims. Syed Soharwardy, Calgary Imam, founder of Muslims Against Terrorism and the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, says he will publish a checklist of questions that he thinks all Imams should ask prospective converts. It has been suggested that there be classes for new converts or the pairing of a new convert with a mentor following conversion.

Considering the number of Muslims who have terrorized in the name of Islam in Canada like Carlos and Ashton Larmond, John Maguire, John Nuttall and Amanda Korody, Martin Couture-Rouleau and Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, I think that’s a good thing.

But not all Imams do.

Aasim Rashid, of the B.C. Muslim Association, is more concerned about unfairly stigmatizing Muslim converts. “As long as they are accepting Islam for the right reasons I would feel compelled to welcome them warmly and give them the benefit of the doubt,” he said.

Great. But what are the right reasons? If your priority is not to upset potential converts to Islam, the religion of peace, by giving them the benefit of the doubt, then you, the religious leaders of Islam, must take responsibility for that decision and embrace those Muslims who kill in the name of Islam.

You must reap what you sow.

Well in truth, we the people must reap what you sowed-terrorism- because you didn’t state the right reasons for converting. You made no plans for embracing new converts.

Therein lies the problem. Anyone can become a Muslim without an iota of understanding .This is the root cause of Islamic terrorism. The refusal of Muslim leaders to provide moral leadership, to have some minimum standards in order to be part of the group. It’s harder to get a driver’s license than become a Muslim, today. It’s time to look in your own backyard for root causes of the terror that is committed in your name.

About the Author
Diane Weber Bederman is a multi-faith, hospital trained chaplain who lives in Ontario, Canada, just outside Toronto; She has a background in science and the humanities and writes about religion in the public square and mental illness on her blog: The Middle Ground:The Agora of the 21st Century. She is a regular contributor to Convivium: Faith in our Community. "
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