How should we respond to ISIS hate-speech?

An audio recording claiming to be of the leader of the Islamic State (ISIS), Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, emerged on the Internet yesterday with a very violent message: “Kill all Shi’ites as you find them.”

The recording came days after rumors of the Caliph’s death by an airstrike in Iraq. Experts claim that the recording does seem to be authentic and recent since Al-Baghdadi refers to recent events like USA President Barack Obama’s statement to deploy 1500 more troops in Iraq.

Although life in the Middle East feels like it’s miles away, many who are not living in the region can’t help but notice that recently, many attacks aimed at Shi’ites have happened in the world outside of the Middle East. Countries like Australia and the United States, where one would expect to live safely and without worrying about IS (ISIS), have endured violence over the past few weeks. Australia experienced the worst attack yet when an IS fanatic opened fire onto a Shi’ite Scholar as he was leaving the Mosque after a nightly Muharram program. Fortunately the Scholar survived the attack and is currently recovering.

Dearborn, Michigan, which hosts a very populous and diverse American-Arab community, has also witnessed some anti-Shi’ite violence recently. One incident took place inside a medical clinic’s waiting room where an elderly Shi’ite woman’s mobile phone rang and her ringtone was a Shi’ite eulogy. An IS fanatic in the waiting room decided to unleash his rage and anger against this woman. Fortunately, before he was able to physically attack the woman, other bystanders took down the man with force and authorities were notified.

Over the past couple of years, IS-minded Takfiri Muslims have attacked many different Western government buildings and officials. From the attack in Woolwich in the UK to the more recent attack in Ottawa, Canada, these Takfiris have made it very clear that they do not have any limits when it comes to spreading terrorism to all who don’t embrace their perverted interpretations of the Holy Qur’an. Although these IS Takfiri fanatics do represent a very small percentage of the more then 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, their violence is costing many lives of innocent people.

Al-Baghdadi’s new threatening edict to attack Shi’ites as they are found needs to be taken very seriously by all Muslims living in the West. Prophet Muhammad did announce, “differences of opinions in my nation is a blessing.” All Shi’ites and Sunnis must stand together shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, against the Takfiri-minded IS fanatics who are threatening our families, neighbors, and our homes.

Don’t take any statements for granted at all. If you were to hear anybody at your work, university, shopping centers, or anywhere else make any violent statements against any sect of Islam or mention IS or its leaders and fighters in a positive manner please do report the individuals to the authorities as soon as you may do so safely. Any Islamic events being conducted inside Islamic Centers or in the public need to take precautions and hire security to keep and eye out for any threats onto the congregation. Whether the events are for sisters only, mixed, or men only and during the day or evening, security precautions should become the norm for all events.

The Holy Qur’an states “And if any one saved a life, it would be as if he/she has saved the life of all humanity (5:32).” The Qur’an doesn’t differentiate what religion or creed is of the innocent soul that one’s saving and neither should any Muslims. As active law-abiding members of the communities we all live in around the world, let us all send a united universal message to Takfiri-minded IS fanatics that our religion preaches tolerance, peace, and justice. Let’s all do our part in protecting our families, neighbors, and homes.