It’s amazing how much ISIS & Egyptian leader Sisi have in common.

Both kill.

Both torture.

Both are corrupt.

Both are illegitimate.

Both emerged from chaos.

Both force their opinion on others.

Both violate freedom of speech.

Both violate almost all human rights.

Both eliminate their opposition.

Both curb freedom of religion.

Both give a bad name to Islam.

Both claim to strive for stability.

Both operate above the law.

Both use religion for power.

This is where the comparison ends. The differences between the two are also ironic.

One claims to be secular, the other claims to be religious.

One is bombed by America, the other is aided by America.

The torture machines of Sisi-type regimes actually create ISIS and their likes.

It is no secret that many of the ISIS leaders are former inmates of the American-run Abu Ghraib torture machine.

War, hate, and terrorism are a connected phenomena. War and hate breed more terrorism. And they feed off of each other.

It is only until people of conscience begin working together at a grassroots level that we can end this cycle of death, destruction, and dysfunction. It is not impossible. But it requires commitment and patience, as well as goodwill that transcends the hate extremists of any stripe feed off of to stay in power to the detriment of others.

What can I do?

Become an informed citizen

Read alternative media to enhance your knowledge base. There is a lot more to the world than our narrow, American/Eurocentric worldview.

Engage journalists with appreciation and critical feedback for more objective coverage of ISIS, Sisi, and extremism generally.

Recognize that the Pentagon-funded research project on terrorism led by Professor Robert Pape has established that there is a direct connection between political and military occupation and terrorism. Buy his books and give them out as gifts to opinion makers (journalists, editors, media pundits, politicians, etc.).

Become an active citizen

Become a better neighbor, as our faith teaches us to. All surveys indicate that those who know a Muslim have a better opinion of Islam and Muslims. Your personal connection with others goes a long way.

Join and support coalitions. Join hands with those who stand against discrimination, racism, poverty, war, and terrorism. These allies have been standing with us for years.

Demand that our tax money be used to save lives, not take them. More than 2 million people have died as a result of the U.S.-led war on terrorism, according to the Washington, DC-based, Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization Physicians For Human Rights.

Build the Future

Develop relationships with the leaders of tomorrow. It will take some time before things start getting better. So invest in relationships with those you can influence in a positive way.

College-aged folks are the most open-minded when it comes to peace and justice. Invest in internships for younger people. Engage them in civic leadership and social justice causes so that they can make a real difference in the world.

Adopt a Muslim Students’ Association for funding and career guidance.

Change, social or political, requires careful thinking, planning, and implementation. It also requires us to commit to work toward its success for the long haul. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, understood this. He remained in Makkah 13 years before making a strategic move to Madinah for better prospects.

The Prophet’s success was the result of deep faith, optimism, hope, and grassroots activism. As followers of his path, do we not owe him and our faith at least this much to stand up against ISIS, Sisi, and the nexus of war-terrorism-hate, which are all abusing the vision of our faith and our Prophet?