ISIS Kills Regardless of Faith

Few would argue that the so-called Islamic State is wreaking havoc on the Middle East, abducting and killing thousands of people. ISIS regularly creeps into world news reports, constantly reminding us of the horror of which our fellow humans are capable.

For me, ISIS’ grisly murder of journalist James Foley back in 2014 made the terror group almost personal. This was someone I could identify with – a journalist committed to understanding the truth about raw realities and trying to convey that to others. Foley is one of many American journalists and Western aid workers slaughtered by ISIS since 2014.

However, zeroing in on the one group of ISIS victims I personally identify with would demonstrate a narrow, egocentric view of the magnitude of chaos and murder occurring overseas. In 2014, the United Nations released a report that showed ISIS has not only killed Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities – it has methodically slaughtered Muslims who refused to assist ISIS or swear allegiance. Those numbers are only growing. As reported by the non-profit research and media organization, the Centre for Research on Globalization, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97 percent of terrorism-related fatalities in the five years before in 2016. According to a 2009 report by the Counter Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Al-Qaeda kills over seven times more Muslims than non-Muslims.

As Westerners, we have a tendency to focus on those of “us” who have been killed. The rhetoric surrounding ISIS focuses in its declaration of a jihad, or “holy war,” against Christians and Jewish people.  This plays right into ISIS propaganda. It also minimizes the deaths of thousands of Muslims who constitute the majority of ISIS’ victims, and demonstrates a disconcerting insensitivity towards the loss of human life for the sake of preserving a sense of belonging to one special group.

ISIS kills Christians, Jews, Muslims, Americans, journalists, Westerners, and more.  Ultimately, ISIS kills people. Fixating on the differences between these groups diminishes the humanity that they and all of us share.

 

etseng@unews.com

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