The media would like to paint ISIS as some sort of wacky extreme group which represents a tiny minority. If that were true, it wouldn’t be taking over Iraq and Syria.
ISIS and its cruelty and atrocities represents the will and faith of millions of Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Syria. To deny that is to deny reality.
Jamal Jamir, a 23-year-old university student from Sinjar, told CNN his family fled to the barren and windswept Mount Sinjar more than a week ago after ISIS captured their town. The group, which calls itself the Islamic State, has been on a rampage, killing members of various minorities, including Yazidis.
Jamir said after ISIS arrived in his town, Arab neighbors of his turned on the minorities and helped ISIS kill. “They join them, and actually they kill us.”
“People you know?” CNN asked.
“Yes,” he responded. “People — our neighbors!”
Jamir’s family was among tens of thousands who flocked to the mountain and desperately waited for airdrops of food and water.
Back in the 90s, Daniel Goldhagen wrote, “Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust”. The title sums up the thesis.
Allah’s willing executioners encompass much of the societies controlled by Islamic terrorist groups. There is at the very least a significant overlap of agendas.
It’s not just the foreign Muslims, the bearded converts, it’s also ordinary Iraqi Sunni Muslims killing those of their neighbors who are different.
That is what we need to understand about this conflict.
It’s not just the Jihadi from a training camp in Libya. It’s also the Arab Sunni family next door. Not just to the Yazidis, but also to us. Terrorism doesn’t emerge from a vacuum or radicalization or American foreign policy.
It comes out of the religious belief that the lives of non-Muslims and the wrong kinds of Muslims are worthless. That they exist only to be dominated or killed.