Muslims all over the world are fighting extremism, and if we really want to stop ISIS, we need to work with them, not against them.
This is not, of course, what Republicans think.
In the wake of the San Bernardino shooting, they’ve ramped up their usual fearmongering about Muslims and Islam, a religion practiced by 1.6 billion people with a rich 1,500 year history of scholarship, art, and culture.
“Moderate” Muslims, Republican say, just aren’t doing enough to fight radical groups like ISIS.
This argument is so flat-out wrong and inaccurate it wouldn’t be worth talking about if it weren’t echoed everyday on cable news by right-wing stooge after right-wing stooge.
The fact is that every day Muslims ARE fighting ISIS.
They’re fighting ISIS on the ground in Syria and Iraq, they’re fighting ISIS as members of our armed forces, and they’re fighting ISIS in their mosques and communities where they are doing their best to stop extremism before it starts.
Everyday Muslims hate ISIS more than anyone, and that’s not just because most of its victims are, you know, Muslim.
They hate ISIS more than anyone -- yes, even more than Ted “Bomb ‘Em All” Cruz -- because it’s perverting their religion and using it for evil.
For example, just check out what’s happening over in U.K. right now, where the hashtag #YouAintNoMuslimBruv is trending on Twitter.
The hashtags stems from something a bystander shouted during an incident on the London Underground over the weekend.
As police arrested an apparently Muslim man who stabbed a fellow Tube passenger while screaming “this is for Syria,” another passenger, also apparently Muslim, called him out in the best way possible.
He responded with "You Ain't No Muslim, Bruv."
Pretty cool, right?
British Muslims think so as well.
Thousands of them are now taking to Twitter and using the hashtag #YouAintNoMuslimBruv on Twitter to condemn extremism and talk about the true meaning of their faith.
You really couldn’t ask for a better counterexample to all the hate coming from Republicans like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who talk about Muslims like Nazis used to talk about Jews.
What’s going on the in Muslim world is very similar to what happened a few decades ago when Christian extremists started murdering abortion doctors in the name of Jesus.
When that began to happen, church leaders all across American came out and called the extremists out for what they were -- terrorists.
They didn’t do this because they were secret extremists who were trying to pass themselves off as normal -- they did this because they were good Christians who hated seeing their religion used for evil.
Muslims like the guy who said “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv” and Muslims like the people who turned that phrase into a hashtag are just as worried about what people think about their faith as the Christians who condemned abortion clinic bombings.
As President Obama pointed out in his Oval Office Address last night, the threat from ISIS terrorism is real.
It's rare, and not something that warrants the apocalyptic end-of-Western-civilization talk that comes from Republicans, but it's still real, and, as the attacks in Paris showed, potentially very deadly.
Which is exactly why some of the rhetoric coming from Republicans these days is so dangerous.
Muslims who read the Qu’ran and practice the best of what it says -- are our allies in the fight in the fight against ISIS.
Actually, they’re our best allies, because when they call ISIS terrorists out for breaking the rules of Islam, they undercut that group’s whole propaganda strategy, which is to portray itself as the one true defender of the faith.
Let’s not give ISIS what it wants.
Let’s embrace Muslims who are fighting extremism and work with them, as opposed to alienate them.
And let’s do this because the Middle Eastern Muslims who are fighting ISIS are just like us -- decent people who hate seeing atrocities done in their name.