Ah yes, the irregular schedule of vacation does knock me out of the rhythm of blogging. I have been thinking about the recent reports of a young Ontario man who became a radicalized Islamist and went off to fight in Syria. When he was wounded he came back to his family to recover, but eventually returned.
What struck me was that this man was discouraged from taking the radical route by his mosque and actually participated in seminars to this end. His family also attempted to dissuade him to the extent that his mother hid his passport. Somehow he got back to Syria, claiming he is willing to kill and to die.
Often those who are anti-Muslim are critical of the religion in a couple of ways. One is to assume that all Muslims are violent extremists. The other is to accuse non-violent Muslims of not doing or saying enough in opposition to the terrorists. But we all have free will, and none of us can insist that another do as we direct them, especially as adults.
This week the world is recognizing the beginning of the First World War, a conflict which resulted in the deaths of nine million combatants, most of them young. Many young Canadians enlisted for a war whose purposes were vague and with little idea of the horror they would encounter. It is the way of war, and the young are recruited to fight and die for a variety of causes. Religion is often used to justify conflict, and to make casualties into martyrs.
I applaud the imams and the congregations of mosques and the families of those who are being recruited in their efforts for peace and counteracting the way of terror.