Contrary to popular criticism, liberals are not fans of terrorism. No one wants terrorism! (Except the terrorists themselves, of course). It’s not like liberals are going to forgive and forget the murder of innocent people. We’re not saying to coddle terrorists, you know? We just try not to lump innocent people in with the terrorists.
I can’t imagine how frustrating and upsetting it would be if Hinduism, the religion that I love and the only thing that makes any sense to me, had famous groups using its philosophies to create terror for others. If I try I can sympathize with Muslims who are mystified by how their beloved religion is being used this way.
So even though I’m a liberal and, sure, a damn snowflake, I am furious about radical Islam and Islamic terrorism. I’m not a big fan of normal regular Islam either, to be honest. Same as with Christianity, I hate religions that teach that they are the one right way and only they are right. That massively pisses me off. And it makes me feel threatened because they would like to spread their religion and get rid of mine.
Anyway, I’m veering off topic.
I’ve been watching some movies and doing reading about the people, particularly in the west, who become radicalized by extremist views of Islam. It’s…discouraging. I’m starting to understand where the appeal is for some people but I don’t know how to combat it.
Strangely, conversions to Islam swell after terrorist attacks like 9/11. People who may have never heard of it get curious, look into it, and become convinced that it has the answers they are missing. Maybe they just want something different. Maybe they want a religion that is happy to tell them exactly what to think and what to do in every situation. “But few of these women were willing to engage thoughtfully with a variety of Islamic religious texts, traditions and interpretations. They hated disorder and ambiguity; the clear-cut doctrines issued by jihadist ideologues appealed to their political sensibilities. Opposing the west was their measure of religious authenticity.” –https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/24/isis-brides-secret-world-jihad-western-women-syria
There’s a lot of teenagers that are drawn to radical Islam. I think it makes them feel special and important. Like they are seeing the “truth” while the rest of us poor saps are stuck in a boring world. In one article that showed some of the social media postings of young women in ISIS the girls spoke derisively of other girls their age who just care about boys and makeup. They feel they have something much more important to do.
A particularly disturbing trend is the young women who are drawn to Isis and run away from home to sneak into Syria. Some of them come from Muslim homes in the west (some of them had parents who had run away from extremism and are stunned when their children are drawn into it) and some of them are white.
I suspect that the zeal of the new convert plays into the terrorist’s hands. We know that new converts to any religion tend to get very excited and dive into the strictest and most intense forms of the religion they can.
“But while women have always been valuable targets to terrorist groups, ISIS is now pursuing a chilling new strategy: recruiting teenage girls online.” –http://www.marieclaire.com/politics/a20011/western-women-who-join-isis/
The trouble with combating this is that Islamic terrorism groups seem to thrive on criticism. The more normal people hand wring about innocent people dying, the more these Isis supporters crow with delight. They love to feel like they are really affecting us. It makes them feel powerful.
The ISIS recruiters on social media brag about how many times they have been shut down. Each time gives them more street cred.
Part of the narrative that draws people to radical Islam is a persecution complex. When you try to fight against Islamic terrorism, they interpret that as an attack on God. “You just don’t understand” is their mantra. They feel they have a special in with God, a special understanding. The more we fight against it, the more they feel special and connected to God. Airstrikes and attacks from western governments just support this idea. They behave as though they are just defending themselves and defending God. This is how in the show Homeland a U.S. soldier is recruited to Islamic extremism.
“Conley had recently converted to Islam after researching the religion online, and felt strongly about righting the global wrongs against Muslims.” –http://www.marieclaire.com/politics/a20011/western-women-who-join-isis/
Umm Kulthum was fixated on stories of Muslim oppression. Her social media accounts were a montage of Muslim suffering – Syrian children killed by Bashar al-Assad; Palestinian youths burned alive by Israelis. For Umm Kulthum, this justified almost any brutality in return. She felt all Muslims had a duty to “protect their siblings in Islam”; she was convinced that only violent jihadists took this seriously. “Jihad is our right even as just human beings, not Muslims,” she said once. “Do we not have the right to defend ourselves?” –https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/24/isis-brides-secret-world-jihad-western-women-syria
[It seems rather ironic that they rail against democracy as a false God, yet it is only with democracy that they have the freedom to say the things they say. Under Sharia law you’ll be policed a lot harder than in the U.K.!]
These young recruits feel like they are doing something important. They get a community and a sense of purpose. In a world that has many disappointments, this is like a drug. When you find dissatisfaction with the rat race, this is an attractive message that there is something grander for you. They are on the front lines of this glorious war for the fate of the world. It’s very exciting and feels meaningful and important.
“The moment you indicate any sort of interest in ISIS or ask any questions about it on a social platform, you get 500 new followers on Twitter, you get 500 friends on Facebook, you start getting emails and messages constantly—it’s a kind of love bombing,” explains Mia Bloom, Georgia State University professor and author of Bombshell: Women and Terrorism, of the remarkably systematic way the process works. “All of a sudden, you feel really popular, important, and significant because of this flood of attention. And it all wraps up in the same ideology they message over and over: ISIS can give you something emotionally and psychologically that you will not have unless you come to the Islamic State.” -http://www.marieclaire.com/politics/a20011/western-women-who-join-isis/
Men are sold the idea of being brave and fighting against oppression and those who stand against their God (or who they are told stand against their God). Women are sold the idea of supporting and loving those brave, exciting soldiers who will risk everything for God. That’s a tough narrative to counteract.
“The general picture provided by foreign fighters of their lives in Syria suggests camaraderie, good morale and purposeful activity, all mixed in with a sense of understated heroism, designed to attract their friends as well as to boost their own self-esteem,” counterterrorism expert Richard Barrett wrote last year in a report called “Foreign fighters in Syria.” –http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/23/world/isis-luring-westerners/
The truth is, it is the weakest people who are targeted. In watching the documentary My Son The Jihadi, one point that really stuck out to me was someone saying that it would take a lot of strength to break away from the brainwashing but that’s just the trouble, these are not strong people. Terrorist groups target people who will be followers, who don’t have a lot of inner strength, who need someone to tell them what to do.
That’s not what they want to hear. I suspect that part of the key to stopping these people is going to involve showing their weaknesses, laughing at them, not taking them seriously. Like BBC’s comedy sketch The Real Housewives of ISIS. Their power is in the romanticizing of violence and devotion. Expose their absurdity and it undercuts that message. On the other hand they do lash out when they feel ridiculed so maybe that’s not the best approach.
Once these children do run away and make it to ISIS-controlled Syria, they find the reality is not what they were sold. Far from a paradise, it is a brutal and terrifying world. When they try to get away, they are beaten to death.
According to a recent New York Times report, rape is rampant among ISIS fighters. To ensure that the women, usually of the Yazidi religious minority, don’t become pregnant, the men force them to take birth control. Raping a pregnant slave isn’t allowed, according to an interpretation of Islamic law reportedly cited by ISIS.
The enslavement doesn’t end there. Most women can’t leave their homes without an escort in ISIS-controlled territory. Experts say Western women aren’t explicitly banned from walking around, particularly with other Westerners, but, just like everyone else, they’ll be witness to the brutal violence in the public squares.
“They take people to the square and they behead them and they require people walking around to come and watch it,” says Speckhard, who has interviewed dozens of ISIS defectors. “It’s impossible to miss the brutality.”
RAPE IS RAMPANT AMONG ISIS FIGHTERS.
If her husband died fighting, Conley would be moved to a dormitory called a maqar with other unmarried women and then swiftly married off to another fighter—with or without her consent. While many interpretations of Islam dictate that a woman not marry until four months and 10 days after her husband’s death, ISIS often cuts that period short, choosing another groom for the widow as quickly as possible.
If Conley decided the caliphate wasn’t what she expected and wanted to return to her family back in Colorado, she’d find herself trapped. The free will with which Western women join ISIS is stripped the moment they sign up. -http://www.marieclaire.com/politics/a20011/western-women-who-join-isis/
Unfortunately these extremists are hijacking Islam, claiming that they speak for Allah and that Muslims that don’t support terrorism are not true believers. It makes it very hard to trust any Muslim. And that’s very sad. But knowing that one of these extremists is a bus driver in London just makes you wonder every time you see a Muslim whether they are on the side of ISIS or against it.
It’s clear that ISIS is bending Islam to what they want, though. We already saw the example of widows being married off quickly after their husbands die instead of waiting the prescribed time. Here is another example: ““Creep out,” she told me. “If u can take out a student loan pls do so.” What about our religious duty to repay loans? “No,” she said, without missing a beat. “The kuffar [non-Muslim] wealth is halāl [permitted] for us.”” –https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/24/isis-brides-secret-world-jihad-western-women-syria
Some people have said we should ban Islam. I am 100% certain that will not work or help. That kind of action will fuel the persecution narrative of the terrorists and will probably make more Muslims turn to extremism because they will be right about being persecuted! We do not want to drive Islam under ground. Banning things does not stop them, but just makes them harder to find. They grow stronger and stronger in the dark.
We can be better than the terrorists. We can be a shelter of kindness that people disillusioned with calls to violence will turn to. Let’s laugh at terrorism and demonstrate a life so filled with joy and brightness that Islamic Terrorism has no leg left to stand on. Let’s show the world that there are other options. There are other paths to God, joy, satisfaction, and inner peace.
I actually think that the best counter to Islamic terrorism is to befriend Muslims. To legitimately care about them, help them, love them, and let them feel secure and safe. That treatment will undercut the persuasive story ISIS puts out about non-Muslims being enemies who don’t care about Muslims and will hurt them when they can. If we don’t hurt them, they can’t say that they are just defending themselves.
The terrorists are counting on us following a certain script and I think the way to counter them is to not play into their hands. We don’t have to fall into the cliche of Hindus hating Muslims and Muslims hating Hindus. I can be strong in my Hindu faith and still extend kindness and friendship to Muslims. I believe that will prevent them from potentially becoming radicalized and take the teeth out of those who already are.
There’s a rabbit hole you can fall into learning about this stuff. One article and movie leading to the next. It’s utterly fascinating and horrifying…
- The secret world of ISIS brides
- How ISIS lured three London teenagers
- The Western women who join ISIS
- The Internet Seduction of Western Females
- Why young American women are joining ISIS
- Western Jihadi Brides
- What Happened to Ariel?
- Teen ISIS Bride Blogs About Death of Her Husband
- Interview with an American in ISIS
- How ISIS attracts foreign fighters
- ISIS Luring Westerners
- ISIS Pilgrims
- Who Joins ISIS and Why
- Til Martyrdom Do Us Part
- Inside the online world of the women of ISIS
- Why are young westerners drawn to terrorist organizations?