Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

If you have not heard about the radical militant group called ISIS, you must have been living under a rock for the past 2 years. ISIS, which is the acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has taken control of many parts of northwestern Iraq and the majority of Syria in the past two years. The militant group used to be a cell of Al-Qaeda, but after Osama bin Laden’s death in 2011, split off completely from Al-Qaeda. Most ISIS members are believers of Sunni Islam, which is the largest branch of Islam, as more than 90% of Muslims are Sunni. Mind, nowhere in the Quran says it’s necessary to do these acts to please Prophet Mohammed or Allah. In fact most Muslims, I’d gladly say 99.9%, of them, both Shiite and Sunni Muslims, do not condone these vile acts.

Back to ISIS, many countries around the world, namely the United States and the United Kingdom consider ISIS as an even bigger threat than the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. One reason for this is because ISIS has been recruiting U.S and UK citizens to join the fight in the Middle East. As of November 2014, only 12 Americans have joined the jihadist group, but over 1,500 British nationals have joined ISIS, an alarming number. However it doesn’t end there. Other European countries, namely France, have a huge number of ISIS recruits as well. There’s even one family here in Singapore that has decided to join the extremist group.

Another reason why ISIS has been ranked more dangerous is due to the sheer aggressiveness of the jihadist group. There have been reports by BBC and CNN that ISIS soldiers have gone through Christian villages in Iraq and Syria beheading everyone, including children and infants.Another huge controversy is ethnic cleansing. There are various other reasons why many countries consider ISIS to be extremely dangerous, but there are too many to list.

Recently, ISIS has been recruiting a number of women to join the group, which has created a great amount of controversy worldwide. The women will serve as housewives and sex slaves for ISIS’ soldiers. In fact, a group of women from neighboring country Malaysia has traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS, and women from Denmark and even the state of Colorado have attempted to join ISIS but were caught at airports and taken into police custody.

So you may ask, what can you do to stop this atrocity? To be brutally honest, not much. The atrocities committed by ISIS are out of our control, and there is no way any of us, as individuals, can stop them. Only governments have the ability to attempt to stop ISIS. For the past few months, the United States along with its allies Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom have been conducting airstrikes on Iraq and Syria. The airstrikes have created a vast amount of controversy, especially with the ISIS militants threatening to behead journalists if the airstrikes continue. There have been so far, three beheadings of journalists on live television, two Americans and one British national. The live beheadings have caused activists around the world to urge countries to stop the airstrikes, but it hasn’t really persuaded any country to pull out of the gulf region.

While the airstrikes have proven effective, ISIS can’t be completely removed from the face of the earth. They have hiding spots in various places such as caves or small villages that are unreachable by airplanes and they always seem to be a step ahead of us. As much as they are cynical and cruel, some of the ISIS militants are extremely intelligent. They play mind games, for example going back to the live beheadings; ISIS knows it will be more emotionally painful to behead one person at a time than a kill a large group of people, as the emotional impact is bigger. They know how to plan and evade. Think about this, it took us 11 years to find Osama bin Laden, and ISIS are considered even more advanced than Al-Qaeda. How long will it take to find the mastermind behind this group? It’s definitely not overnight.

So, the question that comes up more often than not is: is ISIS a risk to us? Well, technically yes, but in reality no. There have been threats from the extremist group towards various European countries and of course, the United States. They even threatened to invade Russia in winter, and I wish them the best of luck with that. Whether these are empty threats or not, the military is always ready to handle any sort of threat. So in hindsight, we are pretty safe from this terrorist group.

So to sum everything up, no, you shouldn’t be afraid of ISIS, they don’t pose a significant threat to any of us directly. Even if they do try and attack us, our military has the capability to hold them off. But on the other hand, don’t totally forget about this extremist group. The things they do to the Iraqi and Syrian people are very cruel and uncalled for. No human being deserves to be treated the way the ISIS captives are. Freedom and safety is a basic human right, and anything less than that, in my eyes is unacceptable. We should try and think about what the people there are going through and be thankful for all that we have.

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