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My name is Hassan Makhzoumi. I am an American. I have had the privilege of working as a doctor helping and healing people of all religious persuasions and no religious persuasion in this, my country, for more than four decades. My wife is an American. My three children are Americans. And we are Muslims.

As such, I feel a responsibility and a need to say something about those who pretend to speak for my religion but instead are the obscene, deadly distorters of Islam and about those who, like Donald Trump, unwittingly serve the ISIS agenda by making it appear that our country is at war with Islam.

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ISIS is a quintessential terrorist organization which, while nominally dedicated to waging war against the West, has managed to kill and maim many more Muslims and drive from their homeland untold numbers of countrymen. It has enslaved and sold human beings of many faiths, especially woman and helpless children.

ISIS says it recruits "fighters." Thus, its recruitment attracts those who feel empowered by holding and using weapons of war: psychopaths, social misfits and bloodthirsty adventurers. In a word, they are losers, horrifically personified by the husband and wife team that six months after being blessed with a healthy daughter — an event that would leave any sane person planning for the child's future — abandon their child to go on a shooting rampage against innocent co-workers.

Nobody remotely versed with the teachings of Islam would find it anything less than horrifying to shoot innocent people in a cafe or concert hall. Indeed, recently a reporter for a Lebanese television station interviewed ISIS recruits in the Raqqah stronghold in Syria and found they were unable to quote more than a single verse of the holy Koran!

ISIS might try to claim it is leading a fight against the West because Islam is the victim of a covert plot by the West, thus requiring an armed struggle, or jihad. This assertion and the call for jihad is wholeheartedly rejected and denounced by more than 99 percent of the 1.6 billion Muslims in this universe. It is not what Islam is about

Islam is one of three Abrahamic monotheologies whose basic premise is mercy and peace. Like other faiths, Islam demands that you treat others the way you like to be treated. Nowhere in the holy Koran does it say you may bear arms in a war of choice against others — Muslim or non-Muslims. A sword may be raised only in defense, in reaction to conditions strictly defined in the Koran such as when your house door is broken down by those intent on harming your family.

Donald Trump is another example of many before him who have exploited fear to gain power and fame. He is knowingly divisive and thus harmful in our society, and his call for war against Islam is widely and justifiably denounced by those who correctly view his hate-filled diatribes as effectively fueling of ISIS' claim that because there is a Western war against Islam it must be countered with militant jihad. Fear, the ultimate goal of terrorism, is amplified by Mr. Trump's words. Those words are interpreted by some as encouragement to attack Islam and Muslims here at home. But the more that happens, the more attacks on mosques and Muslims, the more ISIS and its followers are pleased.

The world will defeat ISIS. Of that I have no doubt. Muslims everywhere must join this battle. So must everyone else, for I wholly believe that in this battle unity and solidarity here at home would be the biggest nail in ISIS' coffin.

Dr. Hassan Makhzoumi, Lutherville

The writer is a past president of An-Nur Islamic society and currently senior member of the board of governors of An-Nur mosque in Harford County.

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