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The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is more commonly known as ISIS. ISIS is an extremist militant group that strictly follows the Salafi writings of Sunni Islam. The group is also commonly known today, as ISIL. ISIL stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In 2014 ISIS declared itself as a worldwide caliphate, which has been rejected by the rest of the world. ISIS has a long history of how it came to be the organization it is today. The group has tremendous effects on global politics, security and civilians. Civilians overseas all over the world are affected by the group, and some even attempt to join the terrorist organization. I will be discussing the history, influence and spread of ISIS and the spread terrorist organizations in the future, and in conclusion after, how ISIS can be stopped. After numerous devastating terror attacks throughout the world, it’s important to understand the history of how this group came about. How did such a group, gain so much control and prominence throughout the world? Why wasn’t the intentions realized earlier by other nations and potentially stop the spread?
ISIS was first founded in 1999 by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi from Jordan. Radical ideas started to come from al-Zarqawi in 2004, where he published a letter saying that jihadis should utilize bombings to start a dividing war from Sunnis, against assassinations by Shia. The group began gaining attention worldwide from suicide attacks on Shia governmental buildings, mosques and civilians. After, al-Zarqawi made his loyalty to Osama bin Laden, along with Al-Queda known. At this point the group was called AQI after “al-Qaeda in Iraq”. The group then merged with other insurgent groups, in order to distance themselves from Al-Queda after more bombings. In 2007, an airstrike from the United States killed al-Zarqawi. And an Egyptian militant namd Abu Ayyub al-Masri took over. The group in 2006 pledged to “Rid Sunnis from the oppression of the rejectionists and restore rights even at the price of our own lives to make Allah’s word supreme and restore the glory of Islam”. This quote is implying the Shi’ite muslems are seen as untrue Muslims to the group. The group, then declared their name is Islamic State of Iraq, ISI. At the time in 2007, ISI’s mission was to take control over central and western Iraq and turn it into a Sunni caliphate. In 2010, the top leaders of ISI were al-Masri and Omar al Baghdadi who were killed in a raid by the United States. In 2013 the group was emerging with another group called al-Nursa and were now going by the name of Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIL). In 2014 ISIL declared itself to be a worldwide caliphate. Meaning a single Islamic nation. Al-Baghdad’s followers named himself as the Caliph. Between gaining and losing territory ISIL in the next following years kept growing and expanding. in 2015-2017 ISIL claimed responsibility for a massive amount of terrorist attacks that took place throughout the whole world. Examples are: November 2015 Paris attacks, Brussels Bombings in 2016, 2016 Nice attack, Istanbul nightclub shooting, Saint Petersburg metro bombing, 2017 Manchester Arena bombing. Mass killing were also found in areas that had been freed from ISIL control. The graves contain about 15,000 bodies killed by ISIL. The United Nations came out saying over 200 mass graves of victims were found, with up to 12,000 bodies in each.
People all across the world are affected by ISIS. The attacks done by ISIS have been done all over the world in a vast amount of countries. ISIS has targeted the following countries; Belgium, France, United States, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Russia among many more. The intense following and reach to other nations have led to other foreign people attempting to join ISIS, and some people succeeded. ISIS usually targets foreign people, then kidnaps them. People taken hostage by ISIS are featured in the group’s infamous beheading videos that are posted online to send messages and gain popularity. Other horrific acts are done to those who are captured such as a Jordanian pilot who was burned alive in a cage. The male captives are typically killed or used to fight.
A girl from Alabama, United States left her home to go join ISIS after finding a recruiter online. Her name is Hoda Muthana, and she left her home at 19 to join ISIS. She traveled to Syria. She wants to come back home after facing loss of her husband and having children. She tweeted messages such as ‘Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them.” encouraging attacks on the United States. She as of February of 2019 she says she is ashamed of what she has said and done. This shows the danger and influence ISIS has over people worldwide.
The role of women in ISIS is a very brutal topic. Women in the group are treated with no respect and total disregard for their wellbeing. Women and young girls who are not Muslim are abused and enslaved to work for the militant group. They either become sex-slaves to the ISIS militants and sold to marry ISIS militants. Girls as young as under ten years old can be married off to an ISIS soldier. For ISIS, they believe women are supposed to be raped. ISIS follows the quote from Ibn (Muhammad’s cousin) saying “approaching any married woman is fornication, except for a woman who has been enslaved.” ISIS interpreted this quote to mean that their men do not need to gain consent prior to being with the women and children.
The United Nations has recognized this as inhumane in treatment and are crimes against women and children. These acts violate basic human rights. The women and children have no autonomy over themselves. They have no freedoms in their life. Everything for them revolves around pleasing and serving their militant owners. Women are chained, and led to a market to be sold off to other militants. Foreign women and girls are drawn to ISIS by the promise of marriage. Some women are hired by ISIS to go recruit women online to join their group by false promises of being free. Nearly all women who join, regret the decision and want to come back to their originating country, but are being denied access or facing legal action back in their country An example of this is Hoda Muthana, who was pleading to return to the United States after she fled ISIS and is now in a refugee camp.
Globally, Islamic leaders from all over have criticized ISIS’s teaching and their behavior. Leaders have said that true Islam does not condone the cruelty and abuse ISIS practices. Leaders of prominent Islamic countries have condemned ISIS’s actions. The members of ISIS believe what they are doing, is directly to please Allah and are to better the world. Their precedence comes from their twisted interpretation of the Quran. This is where their extremist views come from. For example, ISIS’s inhumane treatment of women is from the imbalance of power in the Quran. ISIS has manipulated. Because ISIS has such a distorted view of Islam, this affects the way the rest of the non-extremist Islamic population is viewed. Because ISIS paints a bad image for the Islamic people, the entire religion is something viewed by as extremist with ISIS ideology. As a drastic effect of this, other people around the world view the true Islamic belief as all extremists relating to ISIS. This leads to uneducated views and discriminating against Middle Eastern citizens along with the population of followers of Islam. ISIS wants the Islamic beliefs to go back to its original structure where life is centered around prayer and worship. Though, they have manipulated the doctrines to fit their own ideologies. This is not a fair portrayal of Islam.
Over 40 countries have declared their opposition to ISIS from all over the earth. The United Nations has designated ISIS as a terrorist organisation. Because ISIS has such a global reach, through media and their supporters, the whole world is susceptible being influenced and targeted. For this reason, recruiters are easily able to manipulate young people to join ISIS or follow their beliefs. The United Nation has declared and hold ISIS responsible for crimes against human rights and for committing war crimes along with ethnic cleansing from northern Iraq. The United Nations rejects ISIS for being a legitimate organization state. The Council of the United Nations created 2249 Resolution during November of 2015. This resolution was voted in favor by all members. 2249 Resolution is to strengthen their efforts against ISIS and Al-Nursa. The United Nations states saying ‘unequivocally condemns in the strongest terms the horrifying terrorist attacks perpetrated by ISIL, also known as Da’esh”. This means that the United Nations and their members fully are all against ISIS and their ideologies and that the United Nations’ main concerns is to putting an end to terrorism, along with ISIS.
ISIS has committed the worst terrorist attacks in recent history and current events. ISIS targets large audiences of people. ISIS’s main target in their attacks, and what attacks share in common are done in nations of the west. An example of this is the attack in Manchester, United Kingdom. This attack was done at a crowded concert for the American singer Ariana Grande. The concert was likely chosen as a target because Ariana Grande is known for being a feminist, an American singer whose audience is made up of predominantly young girls. A suicide bomber detonated himself. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, though it is unknown whether the male, Salman Abedi, was directly a member of ISIS, but it is known he was a fan of ISIS from his search history and viewing propaganda of ISIS’s ideology online. This proves how far of an influential reach ISIS has abroad. After the Manchester attack, the city of Manchester’s city has changed. Civilians following the attack, have been on edge with loud noises and the sight of people running causes fear. Following the attack Manchester has an increase in security presence such as more guards, and having patrolling police presence in public areas. Many people have the mindset that going to a concert should be a lighthearted night out, but after the attack the world saw based on Manchester, people have fear and hesitations that there may be a possibility there would be another attack.
Another target that ISIS attacks are religious monuments. Antique religious monuments are part of a nation’s culture and some have been around for hundreds or thousands of years. Not only is this a place of worship for civilians these are historical sites for the world. An example of this type of incident is the Temple of Bel in Palymra, Syria. This temple was founded in 32 AD. The history of this temple goes from being a temple for the Mesopetanian God Bel. Then, it was converted a catholic church. Finally in 1132 the Arabs converted into a mosque. Standing as a mosque since 1132, after being created in 32 AD, in 2015 ISIS destroyed the temple by using explosives. By targeting historical artifacts ISIS inhibits anyone from appreciating them in the future. History will be erased and we cannot benefit from it any longer. By targeting artifacts affects the whole world, not only the region of the attack. Future generations will miss being able to witness historical landmarks.
ISIS is predominantly funded by their wealthy supporters. Because the Middle East is wealthy from the region’s abundance of oil, many people are wealthy. Some of the wealthy people who support ISIS help fund the organization’s costs. Another resource ISIS has to support them is their revenue from their kidnapping and robberies along with smuggling and extortion. When ISIS kidnaps someone they demand a large ransom and the money received goes back into the group. Because ISIS has strong financial support and funding, this makes it more difficult to stop their advancements from spreading. If ISIS did not have a lot of funding, countries like the United States would be able to better aid in stopping terrorism from the group. ISIS has its strength from the money it has to be able to support their weapons, militants and power.
I believe that in order to stop ISIS, the whole world needs to act together collectively. I feel that all countries need to come together and put together all efforts and resources to stop ISIS and the spread of extremism. I would propose a system similar to the structure of the United Nations where representatives of countries who are against ISIS will come together. This would be specifically a group whose sole dedication is to put an end to ISIS. One of the things that all countries should work on would be to use social media to block and filter all messages and posts from suspected ISIS recruiters. I feel a large portion of the population within ISIS are recruited overseas. By limiting the reach of ISIS propaganda globally, the audience, gain and attention they receive will diminish. By having a decrease in supporters this will give the proposed anti-ISIS group an opportunity to control the group while the population of ISIS supporters lessens. By cutting ISIS off from spreading their ideas they will not gain new members so easily. Without the manpower and militant soldiers the group could only get smaller, not larger. By doing this, their numbers will shrink and will make ISIS easier to contain. This is also a non-violent approach where foreign people do not need to fight in combat against ISIS. While taking care of ISIS seems to be almost impossible without combat, this is my proposed approach to start the demise of ISIS and extremist groups. In today’s society everyone has access to everything, which includes the internet and communication globally. I find in my research this is something ISIS has profited on by attracting young people to join them. The youth are susceptible to be influence, and the realities of ISIS and terrorist extremism is a real world horror. All countries should come together for this common good to stop ISIS and their influence to make the world a safer place.
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