Mohanarangan: Hate, fear are pitfalls in war of ideology

Letter to the Editor

Editor’s Note: Daesh is another name for the terrorist group also known as ISIS or ISIL. The terrorist group prefers to not be called by this name.

To the editor,

Over break, I came to some realizations about Daesh [the terrorist organization responsible for the Paris attacks]. One of Daesh’s primary goals is a hatred of Muslims by “the West” that will convince moderate Muslims to join their cause. To do this they’ve started a war of ideology. However, ideas have never been able to go from one side of the planet to another instantly. You can’t put a soldier with a gun between a tweet and its reader. You can’t physically “protect” someone from an idea.

Historically, casualties among soldiers were the proxy that decided the outcomes of wars, affecting what ideologies a group of people might live under. But this time, anybody who may be reached by Daesh’s ideas becomes a combatant. All of us are active participants in this war, whether we know it or not.

How? It’s the ideologies. It’s our words, our questions, our discussions and our ways of thinking. It’s both our responses and our reactions to them. It’s whether we call them what they want and legitimize them, or the offensive acronym of Daesh that they hate. It’s whether we ask, “But why do all Muslims” instead of “Why does a group (that happens to be Muslim).” It’s whether our governors pretend to call upon powers they don’t have to keep refugees from our states. It’s whether Congress does the same based on that pressure with the powers they do actually have. If we let our fears dictate our actions as we did after 9/11, the terrorists win.

How do we stop them? As several religions say, love thy neighbor. When Daesh wants us to hate and fear Muslims, we show love. If we get attacked for opening our country to refugees, then we forgive them and continue anyway. We don’t stoop to Daesh’s level and respond with violence. We let the soldiers exercise their judgment on that. We as civilians of the world open our arms, be civil and love.

I live in the best country in the world. I was welcomed here and I’ll sing its praises to anyone. But if we say we’re the best country in the world but not for everyone, we aren’t the best. So prove we’re the home of the brave and welcome these refugees, all Muslims, all people into your lives with open arms. Not only will this save souls and send them to heaven as per holy books, but it’ll save the world too.

Karthik Mohanarangan
Third-year student