Islam versus Anti-Islam: Simple Strategies to Help Counter ISIS and Other Violent Extremists

By Dr. John Andrew Morrow for New Age Islam

25 May 2017


Preventing, combating, and countering radicalization is a complex matter without simple solutions. Consequently, a multi-pronged approach must be employed. The information war against Takfirism represents but a single piece of the puzzle. Extremism, fanaticism, and terrorism are simply symptoms of a broader problem. Unless all the causes are addressed simultaneously, subject to certain parameters, the war against Takfirism is ultimately bound to fail.

Whether it is ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Shabab or other similar groups, terroristic nihilism feeds on ignorance, poverty, as well as socio-economic and political injustice. There is no band-aid solution to these problems. There are no short-term solutions. They require long-term strategies.

Ignorance needs to be addressed through education. While some Muslim countries have excellent secular education, their religious education is lacking or indoctrinates students into intolerant, radical, and violent interpretations of Islam. If Islamic education is to be provided in the Muslim and non-Muslim world, it is traditional, civilisational, and classical Islam that is to be taught, not Salafism/Wahhabism/Takfirism/Jihadism/Islamism or Political Islam.


In the struggle and information war against extremism and terrorism, we propose that the following strategies be adopted:

1) All efforts should be rooted in traditional, civilisational, and classical Islam. The content should promote an Islam without extremes. It should present the full spectrum of Islamic opinion. It should encourage Muslims to move from the fringes, restore the balance, and stick to the center.

2) The message should promote Islamic unity, oppose sectarianism, and encourage Taqrib or rapprochement between the various schools of thought. This is not to suggest that all schools of thought should merge; however, it should be stressed that diversity and difference is a blessing. There can be unity without uniformity. There can be unity within diversity.

3) Since the focus is on presenting Universal Islam, an Islam that embraces a full range of positions, the Muslim faith should not be promoted as a foreign faith, but the last chapter of a Divine Message that started eons ago. It may be time to look at Faith and Religion, not from a religious perspective, but from God’s viewpoint.

4) Promote The Study Qur’an, edited by Sayyid Hossein Nasr, as it provides a full spectrum of interpretations of the Qur’an. This can counter the one-sided, absolutist, approach taken by religious extremists.

5) Spread the traditional teachings of Islam to counter so-called Political Islam.

6) Disseminate the Constitution of Medina. Islamists claim that they wish to create an Islamic State; however, they ignore the fact that the Prophet Muhammad produce the first political constitution in the history of humanity, an inclusive and pluralistic Political Charter that granted equality to all citizens regardless of religion, race, or gender.

7) Disseminate the covenants and treaties that the Prophet Muhammad concluded with Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian communities. These include the Treaty of Maqnah, the Treaty of Najran, the Covenant with Monks from Mount Sinai, the Covenant with the Christians of Persia, the Covenant with the Assyrian Christians, the Covenant with the Armenian Christians, the Covenant with the Coptic Christians, the Covenant with the Syriac Orthodox Christians, and the Covenant with the Parsis, among others.

8) Disseminate the covenants that the Caliphs and Sultans concluded with non-Muslim communities. These include the Covenant of Abu Bakr with the Christians, the Covenant of ‘Umar with the Christians of Jerusalem, the Covenant of ‘Ali with the Christians, the Covenant of Salah al-Din with the Christians, the Covenant of Sultan Mehmet with the Franciscan Catholics of Bosnia…

9) Familiarize Muslims, and non-Muslims, with the over three hundred initiatives against extremism and radicalization, including:

ISNA’s Muslim Code of Honor?

A Common Word between Us and You

Shoulder to Shoulder

Dr. Qadri’s Fatwa against Terrorism and Suicide Bombing

Dr. Qadri’s Fatwa against ISIS

The Covenants Initiative

The Genocide Initiative

Shaykh Bin Bayyah’s Fatwa against ISIS

The Letter to Baghdadi

The Amman Message

The Statement by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

The Fatwa from Al-Azhar

The Statement from the Arab League

The Fatwa of Mufti Mehmet Gormez

The Statement of CAIR

The Statement of the Muslim Council of Great Britain

The Fatwa of the Fiqh Council of ISNA

The Joint Sunni-Shiite Fatwa by 100 UK Imams

The Statement from the Muslim Public Affairs Council

The Statements from Nahdlatul Ulema from Indonesia

Shaykh Yaqubi’s Refuting ISIS

The Muslim Youth Group’s Jihad Against Extremism

The Statement by Dr. John Andrew Morrow

The Mass Fatwa by 100,000 Muslim Clerics from India, Bangladesh, and beyond

The Marrakesh Declaration

The Grozny Declaration

10) Expose the historical and current ties between “radical jihadis” and Western imperialists; namely, the use of the Wahhabis by the British Empire in order to undermine the Ottoman Empire; the use of “Jihadists” by all parties in the First and Second World Wars; particularly, the ties of so-called “Islamists” with the Third Reich during the Second World War; the CIA-support of the “Mujahidin” and al-Qaedah in Afghanistan; the CIA-support of “Jihadists” in Bosnia and Kosovo; and the continued support of the United States for “radical Islamists” who serve their geo-political interests. Show to Muslims that the “radical Jihadi” approaches benefit the enemies of Islam, so much so that those enemies facilitate or fabricate Jihadi groups and attacks.

11) Teach critical thinking to Muslims. Provide them with the tools to distinguish between Traditional Islam and so-called “Radical Political Islam,” better known as Salafism/Jihadism/Takfirism.

12) Educate Muslims on the true meaning of Jihad and the rules of just war to which all combatants are bound. Disseminate the commands that Abu Bakr and ‘Ali used to give to their fighters, prohibiting them from killing non-combatants, abusing women, destroying property, etc.

13) Enlist Muslim athletes and celebrities to promote traditional, civilisational, and classical Islam. Getting these artists/celebrities involved is another way of cracking the media.

14) Educate Muslims about the history of Islam in the Western world, from Muslims who accompanied European explorers to African Muslim slaves to the large waves of Muslim pioneers from Syria and Lebanon who settled the American Mid-West.

15) Showcase examples of coexistence between Muslims and the People of the Book throughout Islamic history, focusing on the Golden Age of al-Andalus, Sicily, and the Ottoman Empire.

16) Present positive quotes about the Prophet and Islam made by non-Muslims. This helps boost Muslim pride and illustrates that not all non-Muslims are enemies of Islam and Muslims.

17) Spread Qur’anic verses and prophetic traditions, particularly hadith qudsi, that focus on values, ethics, morals, compassion, mercy, and love. However, balance the focus on Mercy with the same focus on Justice.

18) Highlight contemporary cases of Muslims helping non-Muslims along with non-Muslims helping Muslims. This might include Muslim efforts to rebuild churches that were burned to the ground, cases of Muslims surrounding synagogues to protect them; instances in which Jews and Christians surrounded mosques to defend them from armed racists and Islamophobes.

19) Tell the full truth about the evils of imperialism and Zionism, that the USA and other Western governments are the world’s biggest terrorists, etc. so that (justifiably) angry individuals find mainstream Muslims to be legitimate. If orthodox Muslims stood up for justice as they are Qur’anically-commanded, fewer “idealistic” young people would be drawn into the ranks of Islamist terrorists. When Muslims listen to Uncle Tom Muslims on NPR, etc. it makes some of them want to join the global “jihad.” Many “moderate” voices contribute to the radicalization of young Muslims who have legitimate grievances against capitalism, secularism, and imperialism.

20) Allow Muslims to express their legitimate grievances against their governments peacefully and constructively and pressure such Muslim-majority States to abide by the traditional principles of Islam.

21) Expose the injustice, discrimination, racism, political and economic violence that is directed toward Muslim minorities in certain parts of the Western world. Support the struggle of such Muslims and provide them with the means to pressure their governments and improve their well-being by grass-roots, community, economic, and political efforts.

22) Support the legitimate aspirations of 2/3rds of the world’s Muslims for the re-establishment of the Muslim Ummah, a sane one, not the lunatic anti-Islamic ISIS version, which was created precisely to cast aspersions on the whole notion of a Caliphate. Although it can take many forms, an Islamic State must be based on the foundations of traditional, mainstream, classical Islam, and should be modeled on the Constitution of the Medina and the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad. It must be a tolerant, inclusive, and pluralistic state based on the spirit of Islamic values and ethics; and not on fossilized medieval interpretations of Islam.

23) Muslims must attain and maintain independence, namely, they must not depend on the support, financial or ideological, of foreign or domestic regimes. Otherwise, they lose all credibility in the eyes of disaffected and disenfranchised youth.

24) Chanel the legitimate frustration and grievances of Muslims constructively instead of destructively. Get them engaged in political and social activism, locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Organize Muslim missionary work. Create a Muslim Peace Corp. Many methods can be employed to exact desired change.

25) Provide educational opportunities to Muslim youth at home and abroad. Provide them with job opportunities. Encourage entrepreneurship. Help them build up businesses. Help them form families. People who have hope do not kill themselves and others. Extremism and violence feed on chaos and despair. Proper social, psychological, and spiritual services can prevent young people from descending into the darkness of extremism, fanaticism, and nihilism.

26)  Remember that as terrible as Takfiri terrorism may be, it forms part of an even more horrific plan; a genocidal agenda on the part of Western imperialists. The essence of this plan is to exterminate 80% of the world population, the “human surplus” which is increasingly being replaced by technology. If these elitist globalists, who wish to turn the planet into their own personal resort, have spread terrorism in the Muslim world to help cull its population, they have spread drugs, along with material and moral corruption, in the Western world to destroy it from within.


The Muslim Ummah is currently in conflict. A battle is being waged for the heart and soul of Islam. In some cases, the forces of True Islam and Fake Islam are facing off in full-fledged civil wars. In most instances, the overwhelming majority of orthodox Muslims are being assailed by a fringe minority of violent heretics. If anything prevents mainstream Muslims from cleaning up camp, it is the fact that they are powerless and at the mercy of oppressive leaders who have traditionally supported Takfiri terrorists to do their dirty geo-political work covertly while simultaneously condemning them overtly. It is shameful that a billion-strong majority of Muslim tigers are being pestered by one hundred thousand rats. It is time for them to act like big cats, as opposed to kittens, and to consume the rodents before they reproduce more and spread the bubonic plague. And when the tigers terminate the rats, they will need to turn their claws and jaws on those who released the rats in the first place. Then, and only then, will balance return to the ecosystem of Islam.


Dr. John Andrew Morrow is Native North American a proud member of the Métis Nation. After taking his Shahadah at the age of 16, he became both an academic and a Muslim ‘Alim. He has authored over thirty peer-reviewed books and over one hundred scholarly articles. His most influential work to date is The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World. His websites include and His videos and lectures can be found on The Covenants of the Prophet Channel on YouTube: . His Facebook accounts include @johnandrewmorrow and @covenantsoftheprophet. He can be followed on Twitter @drjamorrow.

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Dr. John Andrew Morrow is a senior scholar specializing in Islamic, Indigenous, and Hispanic Studies.