The boy in the picture is an 11 year old son of an IS soldier. He is being brought up by parents who have taught him that he must fight the evil of this world. It just so happens that the evil they are fighting is anyone who disagrees with them. I can understand that from this young boy’s point of view that what he is being taught must be true, because it is being taught to him by people who love him. He believes it, as does his Father, and his Father before him.
He has been taught that everyone who does not follow the exact same flavour of Islam as he does is an infidel and God hates them. It is his duty to rid the world of these infidels to create a pure state under Islamic rule – for this would be pleasing to God.
Do i hate this young boy? No. Do i hate his parents? No. Do i hate the young British man who beheaded James Foley? No.
To hate these people would be to reduce them to the indignity of their cause. It would be to do the exact same thing they do to me as an ‘infidel’ – to de-humanise me. I refuse to de-humanise them. God loves them as much as He loves me – they too are made in the image and likeness of God.
As a Christian i am called to love my enemies, no matter how much i feel like hating them. To love my enemy is the exact opposite of what IS preaches. It is a confusing and confounding Christian paradox that could possibly be the biggest witness to the truth that these brainwashed young men well ever encounter. We are to be Christ to them.
In our families, let’s not preach hate. What ever their actions, lets not respond by de-humanising them. Under each balaclava, under each burka there is an individual, a mother or father, son or daughter. There is a person.