The Islamic State (IS) — Its rise is ominous
Barbarism in the name of religionPreamble … Some misguided followers of Islam, in their zeal to safeguard the underlying values of this great faith, often distort it to very abominable extent. As a result, human values such as forgiveness, and compassion that form the bedrock of Islam gets smudged making people of other faiths think brutality is synonymous with Islam. Nothing can be farther from truth. The advent of the protagonists of the Islamic State, unfortunately, have besmirched their own faith by their violent acts in recent times. Osama Bin Laden, the founder of Al Qaeda disgraced Islam in trying to be its pure adherent. The Islamic State warriors are going down the same path.
The American journalist James Foley has been felled by the militants of the Islamic State while he was doing his journalistic duty as a freelance reporter. The whole world has been appalled by this dastardly act.
Foley was taken captive by the militant group a few months ago in Syria. To free him, his captors made some demands from time to time. One was a demand for ransom of $100 million. As a matter of policy the U.S. government does not heed such demands. In this case too, the abductors’ offer was turned down.
The U.S. military and Intelligence authorities made a vain attempt to free Foley. Sensing more such attempts, the Islamic State fighters executed him, and blamed American airstrikes over Iraq as their cause. The IS and its vengeful activities have been strongly condemned by the United Nations Security Council. The IS militants chose to ignore the UNSC views and went ahead with their plans to kill Foley. One more American journalist is still under their captivity. Quite daringly, the IS has threatened President Obama to retrace his steps in Syria and the Muslim world, failing which the second captive could be killed.
With their influence soaring, the edicts of the IS are now coming with increasing frequency and vehemence. It asks Muslims the followers of the faith to live like ‘true’ followers of the Prophet. One of their most bizarre order (Fatwa) has been directed towards Muslim women between the age group of 14 to 41. They have been asked to opt for circumcision – a form of female genital mutilation that is cruel, barbaric, and often life-threatening. In the original scriptures of Islam, there appears to be no mention of this violence against women.
Their wrath against the minority Yazidis is also inexplicable. The IS militants have turned on the Yezidis with savage force. The grainy photographs of the torture of innocent Yezidis available in the media have caused widespread revulsion in the whole world. With remorseless doggedness, the IS has sent out a message that it will stop at nothing in propagating its views of Islam, however repugnant it might appear to the rest of their co-religionists and the world. Quite unabashedly, it claims to establish its sway across the whole of the Islamic world. It seems determined to out-do Al Qaeda, from which it draws its ideological inspiration. It, in its shortsightedness, fails to see that its extreme ideology and violent ways would prove to be its undoing sooner or later. Even most Sunni Muslims in Iraq abhor the brutal mindset of the IS ideologues. It is a matter of relief to note that, so far, the IS has remained a force geographically limited to a comparatively smaller space compared to the Al Qaeda.
Happily, there has been a change of guard in Iraq with Nouri al Maliki relinquishing power in favour of a more acceptable leader. He is Haider al-Abadi, who might stop the country going for a sect-driven mutual self- destruction. His effort will be to bring the minority Sunni community on board.
A host of factors aided the surge of the IS. The interminable insurgency in Syria, the failure of the Al Maliki government to win the confidence of the Sunnis, and the general state of ferment in the Arab world are a few among them. The American backing to all anti Assad forces in Syria seems to have backfired now.
It is a matter of concern to know that dozens of Indians have joined the IS. Indian security agencies must monitor their role after they return from their stints with the IS. Battle-hard and highly indoctrinated, these returnees may play havoc within the country.