Islamic State: Differing Viewpoints By Pejman MasrouriPosted: 2016/07/30
Islamic State: Differing Viewpoints
By Pejman Masrouri
When walking around my college campus, I encounter people who hold all manner of ideas and beliefs about the world. While many people have very interesting viewpoints which make for great conversation and debate, others hold such radical notions that I often find myself surprised that such viewpoints exist. These views may include ideas of anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and all manner of conspiracy theories which range from the moon landings being faked, to the government orchestrating the attacks on September 11th. I am not talking about hearing this on the internet or the radio, but from active students at American universities. One more recent fringe viewpoint that especially baffles me that I have increasingly heard is the apologetic outlook towards the murderous death cult known as the Islamic State.
Apologists have proposed numerous excuses and justifications for the existence and actions of the Islamic State, a rather futile gesture as they have a long way to go to convince the people of the world of the “benefits” of the Islamic State. Maybe they should start in the Islamic world which seems quite opposed to having their nations conquered by these jihadist madmen. The apologists try to paint the Islamic State in a positive way through various lenses such as viewing it as anti-imperialist and a trans-national movement. I have even heard arguments which compared the Islamic State to the European Union, another trans-national organization, however given the extreme xenophobia which IS shows towards all places that are not Sunni Islamic, I highly doubt their commitment to such cosmopolitan ideas. To compare IS to the EU, either stems from complete ignorance of IS or the EU, or even both. In the EU, the member states voluntarily entered and can voluntarily leave. Member states are very much independent and autonomous, and most importantly, the EU respects international law and respects human rights, something IS breaks by the minute. Living under the Islamic State is anything but voluntary, as they spread their domain by conquering the local populace, where they generally enjoy minimal popularity at best. The greatest reason why they lack popularity and loyalty from the local communities in Iraq and Syria aside from their medieval brutality, is the fact that they themselves are tailored to a specific identity group of Sunni Arabs. This makes them very undesirable not only to other religions but also to Shia Muslims, which constitute the majority in Iraq, as well as to the non-Arab ethnic groups, notably including among the large population of Kurds, who have mounted firm resistance to IS in both Iraq and Syria. The vast majority of the Islamic world itself has denounced the Islamic State and many have actively contributed to the fight against it.
Yet many seem convinced of a future for the Islamic state, of a reachable victory within range. The longevity of the Islamic State is in question as it sits in a rather precarious position in unstable Iraq and war-torn Syria, having had large swathes of its territory lost, and continued resistance from local factions. Not to mention the combined effort of the international community to destroy them. Furthermore, I am skeptical at best of their ability to rule over the actual population of their territory as an effective government. With all of these undermining factors involved, a glorious future of victory for the Islamic State is dubious at best, and I doubt this “Islamic EU” will be able stay alive, let alone spread to the other Islamic countries in the world as it is written as their highly ambitious goal. Often time this grand idea of destroying national borders earns praise especially when put in the context of a post-colonial Middle East whereas the borders and divisions between the nations originate from the colonial powers carving up the Middle East into various protectorates, most evident in the Sykes-Picot agreement of WWI. Many have come to view these divisions as a means to counter Arab nationalism, and pan-Islamism, and all attempts to reconcile these changes by unifying the nations has failed. This has led some to portray the Islamic State as being the latest iteration in the continuation of this postcolonial struggle to destroy the artificial barriers between the Islamic countries.
I question the ethics of anyone who sympathizes with the Islamic State, regardless of these empty justifications to excuse the endless bloodshed and cruelty brought about by the Islamic State both within Iraq and Syria as well as across the world as whole, who have suffered numerous acts of terror which can be traced back to these butchers. We pride our western societies for their open-mindedness, but we must not let such liberal policies of tolerance keep us from speaking out against those that support hatred and terror.