A few weeks ago, I was going about my mundane daily tasks when I saw a news report about organized coordinated violent acts in France. The locations were non political in nature. A theater, a cafe, a stadium. A group called ISIS was credited as being behind the violent acts. I have wondered in the past what is the agenda of this group? In this modern world I sought an answer through search engines on the internet. "Political objectives of ISIS" was my search question. In response came a 42 page article from the magazine "The Atlantic". Among the information presented was this comment. The actions of ISIS reflect a "...carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse."
That is a pretty sobering objective. Let's face the facts. A suicide bomber is determined to give their life as a means of promoting the objectives of the group. A suicide bomber is dedicated to taking the lives of others. Only the failure of the bomber's equipment will prevent mayhem from occurring. I have yet to hear of a negotiator talking a suicide bomber away from carrying out their mission. Bombs, gunfire, kidnapping/beheadings and planes have been the instruments of destruction for terrorists over the past 14 years. Who knows what upgrades they have in mind?
Their apparently is some religious fervor behind the beliefs of ISIS. A July 5th 2014 delivery of a sermon by an individual is quoted as being a significant event in the elevation of ISIS into a major player in world terrorists events. Allegedly, ISIS rejects peace as a matter of principle. ISIS allegedly hungers for genocide. It's hard to refute these allegations based on the actions of the group that it has taken credit for.
I do wonder if ISIS is an extremist group, why don't the mainstream Muslim groups come out fervently against ISIS and their methods? Why are "traditional" Muslims allowing ISIS to be the image of Muslim religion that dominates in the media?
Violence attracts attention. ISIS has received the attention of the world. Now it is the world's turn to respond to ISIS. A response that goes beyond military action is needed. Educating people to the true positive points of the Muslim faith is needed. There is a need to ensure that people do not automatically think that Muslim = jihad. Muslim does not automatically equate to suicide bombings and beheadings. Muslim is not equal to violence. So Muslim community, help us overcome the negative images presented by an extremist group.
Until then, for those who travel overseas or even those here in the United States we have to pause. Do your research and see who/what have been the targets of ISIS. Where have they attacked? Who have they attacked? Then be vigilant if you see that you are someone, or you are going somewhere, that might be the target of a future act of violence. Surely the intelligence organizations of the United States and foreign countries have developed a profile of high risk targets for ISIS?
There is no need for the United States to continue with announcements that promotes itself as being the greatest country in the world, or the best country in the world. Sometimes those boasts attracts the wrong type of attention. Attention needs to be paid to those who are joining ISIS from countries around the world. Individuals who feel abandoned within their own country or alienated within their society are turning to ISIS. People are giving up on peaceful co existence. We need to pause and understand what we are doing that is alienating people to move into a lane of violence.
If ISIS does not want to dialogue about issues we only have one response. That is the typical response of violence that has existed since human beings were created. It is our flawed response to a flawed situation. Maybe violence will never cease. What we can do is understand the underlying reasons to the violence.