The establishment of al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan was followed by a proliferation of terrorist organizations: al-Qa’ida in the Mesopotamian Valley and al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qa-ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Shabab in Somalia and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Now the global community faces the largest and most dangerous terrorist movement of all, the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).
The world has not witnessed evil like the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in generations. The leaders of ISIS, their evil ideology, and their inhumane crimes are the antithesis of the fundamental values cherished by all of humanity, values that are affirmed in the teachings of Islam. Throughout history, repressive and nihilistic movements have shrouded their selfish political objectives with noble ideals intended to appeal to impressionable audiences.
To begin to answer this question, we may start by asking:
What is ISIS and what ideology does it espouse?
How does its ideology attract recruits?
Why are so many members ready to give their lives for what many would argue is an ill-defined cause?
Equally importantly, how does it fund itself?
What is the relationships between its ideological and military strategy and its sources of funding?
What is ISIS’ ultimate goals and how can it be stopped?
ISIS’ ideological narrative is not well developed. An offshoot of Wahhabism and Qutbism in its most violent form, its Manichean ideology postulates a world where evil has subordinated the good. As with other extremist movements that claim to be Islamic, it argues that the core problem is that Muslims have been seduced and corrupted by the West and thus deviated from true Islam.
It is unfortunate that ISIS has chosen the beautiful religion of Islam as their public messaging vehicle to promote their apocalyptic approach to grabbing power and territory. Not only will they be met with a formidable international military response to stop them in their tracks and eventually defeat them, they will be completely undermined when people of all faiths and backgrounds collectively act upon their shared values of peace, justice, and compassion.
We should speak out against injustices by criminal and terrorist groups like ISIS…., and to work with community and political leaders to promote peace at home and around the world.