Dear ISIS & Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi,
You are not “The Islamic State.”
There is nothing Islamic about beheading foreign journalists, indiscriminately targeting religious minorities and instilling wanton terror within the general civilian population where your terrorist thugs operate.
As I mentioned during a July 2012 CNN television interview, you are so crazy that even Al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri has distanced himself from the actions of your terrorist organization.
Seriously, you know that you’re a bunch of lunatics when even Al-Qaeda says that you are too ‘cray-cray’ for their taste.
For those who are unaware, the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq & Syria (ISIS) currently controls hundreds of square miles in both Iraq and Syria where state authority has evaporated. According to CNN, this group “ignores international borders and has a presence all the way from Syria’s Mediterranean coast to just south of Baghdad.”
After the killing of Al-Qaeda in Iraq’s leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2006 by American forces, the “new Al-Qaeda [in Iraq] was rebranded in 2006 as the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI)”. It would add “and Syria” to its name later. The group gained traction by exploiting a “growing perception among many Sunnis that they were being persecuted by the Shia-dominated government led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, starved of resources and excluded from a share of power.”
In the words of the Soufan Group, a political risk consultancy, “ISIS has become indisputably the most effective and ruthless terrorist organization in the world.”
“It now challenges the authority of two of the largest states in the Middle East, and has attracted significant numbers of fighters, not just from Iraq and Syria, but also from Saudi Arabia and other Arab states including Jordan.”
Ayham Kamel of the Eurasia Group has said ISIS uses “cash reserves from Mosul’s banks, military equipment from seized military and police bases and the release of 2,500 fighters from local jails to bolster its military and financial capability.”
For the last few months, we have witnessed ISIS targeting religious minorities (like Christians and Yazidis) in a campaign to rid their region of these peaceful populations. The United Nations has estimated that ISIS terrorists have trapped up to 40,000 members of Iraq’s minority communities which has many Western and regional players concerned about stability in northern Iraq and Syria.
Most recently, an August 2014 video released by ISIS shows the brutal beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley and threatens the life of another American journalist if President Barack Obama doesn’t end military operations in Iraq. (Editor’s Note: The second captured American journalist – Steven Sotloff- is a longtime Facebook friend of mine.)
From an Islamic perspective, when outlining the rules of engagement for wartime, the Prophet Muhammad said on numerous occasions:
- “Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman”
- “Do not kill the monks in monasteries”
- “Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship”
- “Do not attack a wounded person”
- “No prisoner should be put to the sword [aka executed or beheaded]”
Prophet Muhammad also prohibited the killing of anyone who is in captivity (like journalists) and also outlawed the mutilating of the corpses of enemies. These clear and concise statements make any violation of these edicts during wartime a clear violation of core Islamic principles.
Most mainstream Islamic scholars also assert that war in Islam is purely defensive in nature (Quran 22:39-40). Also, the Quran prohibits of killing non-combatants (2:190-192) and it advocates kindness to people of other faiths who live in peace in Muslim lands (60:8).
Despite such clear injunctions, some so-called Muslims (like ISIS or Al-Qaeda) who claim to be killing in the name of Islam are, in fact, completely defiling its essence. The extremists and militants who attempt to hide behind the veneer of Islam are, in reality, openly violating many of its core teachings.
For these and many other reasons, the acronym ISIS should stand for “Idiotic Sacrilegious Imbecile Society” or we can just call them “The Un-Islamic State” for short.