The Paradox of Coptic ISIS Sympathisers

Suzy Hanna

Suzy Hanna is a regular contributor. Suzy’s background, education and personal interest in Human Rights and Politics have seen her on the front lines of elevating her passions. Suzy has fronted an array of media outlets and presented papers at University.  

The Paradox of Coptic ISIS Sympathisers

I was speaking to some Copts about Canada’s desire to “reintegrate” convicted ISIS members and I felt the need to write a response to a growing group of people, even Copts, who are sympathetic to ISIS. Now when I say they are ISIS sympathisers, I am not insinuating that they are going to travel to the Middle East and start fighting as ISIS members. They are literally sympathising with ISIS members- feeling sympathetic to their “plight” and encouraging “forgiveness” and “understanding” towards convicted terrorists. They remind me of European schools asking students to empathise with ISIS members and encouraging students to write “letters” in an effort to empathise with and understand them.

Not all ISIS members commit crimes, I was told.
I think is the beginning of the problem. There seems to be a popular Westernised romantic views of what ISIS members do. They seem to be equated with legitimate armies. But what exactly do sympathisers think ISIS members do? They use violence to capture innocent victims and territories in an effort to overthrow the respective governments and instill their own Islamic State. At the very least, they can be tried under the crime of treason, based on their very ideology. And that is without looking at charges such as kidnapping, mutilation, rape, theft, assault and murder.

It makes no sense that if one person is convicted of one of these crimes, the court of law finds them guilty and gives a punishment, yet when that conviction is in relation to terrorism, they are found guilty and put through a “rehabilitation program” and reintegrated into society, with no thought as to the rights of the victims and their families, or the rights of future victims to be protected through the criminal’s detention.

These poor people are brainwashed, I was told. They have been taught something all their lives and truly believe that this is the right course of action. In their eyes, they are simply following their religion.
The reasoning behind this argument rests on the idea that this is the true Islam and that Muslims who are fighting ISIS are “less” Muslim than ISIS. Ironically, this is the very idea that moderate Muslims are fighting.

What an absolute cop out and a slap in the face of the millions of Muslim men and women who have died fighting ISIS. Why were the men and women in the Iraqi and Syrian armies who have died protecting their countries from falling to ISIS (remember that the acronym is Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) not “brainwashed”? Or the Jordanian pilot who was locked up in a cage and the cage set on fire- was he not Muslim?

The mother of the ISIS fighter who stood up to him and told him he was wrong in joining ISIS and he retaliated by publicly executing her- was she less Muslim than her son? And the ones who killed their fathers in similar crimes- were they less religious than their children?
Ironically, this is also the argument of extremists themselves!

Western countries are tip-toeing around Islamic extremism and making excuses, refusing to use those terms for fear of offending Muslims, while if you watch the Arabic news, the Middle Eastern media refers to terrorist attacks as “Islamic extremism.” It is largely the Middle Eastern armies who are sacrificing their children to prevent their countries from falling to the Islamic State. And they are Muslim!

How are they different to armies who committed war crimes? I was asked.

Indeed, they are not different and even war has rules and laws that govern it. And that is the point. Convicted criminals of other war crimes have been held accountable both legally by the courts and ethically by subsequent generations. Would you ever see a court finding Nazi murderers guilty and then “rehabilitating” and “reintegrating” them back into society? Would you ever see a high school teacher teaching their class, “The Nazis were brainwashed, so let us now write them a letter empathizing with their plight”?

In your desire to “understand” the criminal, do not take away the rights of the victim. The law has given these victims rights. They have given future victims the right to be protected from future crimes by locking up these criminals. For you to ignore their crimes and “reintegrate” them, you are bypassing the law and denying the rights of victims and their families.

In law, if I have committed a murder, the name of the case becomes R v Hanna, with R representing “Regina” or the State. The reasoning is through this murder I have attacked the entire State and not just the individual I killed. Why are these murders not perceived as attacks against the State (when ironically, they are more so as they are committed essentially against the State governments.)

The essential summary of these Christians and Copts is that there should be no more courts as Christians should always just forgive any crime committed against them.

I understand the Coptic and Christian desire to forgive. But nowhere in the Bible were we asked to not hold people accountable for their crimes. When our Lord Jesus and St Stephen called out to God to forgive the sins of the murderers, there was never a call to forgive them from being tried under the court of law. The forgiveness of the murderer’s sin is between them and God, but it does not preclude them from their punishment under the law. You have every right to forgive the criminal within your heart, or to pray for them. But you do not have the right to deny justice to victims or their families through their rights granted to them through the court of law.
And until these Christians and Copts are granted their desire to eradicate laws and just leave everyone to commit whatever crimes they wish without consequences, let us remember that the law exists and is applicable to all.

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