As our country goes through its own turmoil regarding who governs, what is ethical, how many wars can we handle, what about taxes, health care, the poor, etc. etc., the world has something big going on. It can be argued-- how big and will it impact our lives? I'm not talking global climate change (which also could change the dynamics on everything), I'm talking about the Islamic State (separate this from the religions of Islam) which is not really staying in Syria and Iraq and could be a factor worldwide. The question some ask is why should I care-- it's over there.
Many, on both political extremes, are angry at Obama for not seeming to understand what the Islamic State is as he says it's not Islam. I have read far left blogs that tore into the writer of the above article. Their view is it's not Islam that has made the Islamic State behead people, crucify children, burn people to death.
Except how do we explain the zeal leading young people, from around the world, to want to head to Syria and join up? Lust to kill? Hardly. The most recent example has been three teen-age girls who flew to Turkey, their parents had no idea, to go to Syria and become brides of ISIS fighters. Now think about this for just a minute. Let it sink in.
The girls, if they aren't stopped first, may also end up fighting. But what led Straight A students, lovely girls, to want to leave their homes in England and head to a land where they may be killed or at the least have their freedoms taken away. They lived in a country where they could do as they wished, wear a head covering or not. Those freedoms will be gone once they are in the Islamic State. There if they disobey an order, death is the likeliest result. What leads young women to choose that culture?
They were recruited, of course. That's going on around the world. But it's not just putting a romantic glow on danger and war but the real appeal comes from religious zeal. If you already live in Syria or Iraq, in regions under the control of the Islamic State, you don't have a choice in a lot of this. These girls did. In the Islamic State, children as young as twelve are taught to use guns and called Lion Cubs. They are taught only religious dogma as they go to war when not in school.
If it all stayed in Syria and Iraq, we might feel sorry for people in those countries, but is that the goal of the the new Caliphate?
With Libya, at least for now, in chaos, where Coptic Christians can be beheaded simply because they are not Islamic, it's not hard to see this moving across the Mediterranean to Europe in at least terrorist acts. It already has with bombings and it probably began there in England with the beheading of the English soldier, Lee Rigby. This was when most of us thought how insane that he'd be attacked that way-- before we understood what was going on.
Economically, to keep going, the Islamic State is receiving help from around the world. They are earning money. Some of it by despicable means like having organs harvested from their captives. Their hostage business has been profitable as some countries don't mind funding them to get their people back.
A lot of the Middle East used to look stable to the outside world because of strong-arm leaders who were brutally cruel but mostly secular in their goals. Men like Hussein and Gaddafi were Muslims but not fundamentalists. Women didn't have to wear the hijab or burkha. They had more freedom than in say Saudi Arabia where even today their freedoms are very limited.
When Obama tried to say respecting other people's religions or jobs would solve the ISIL problem, I groaned as did a lot of people in the moderate end of politics. It was, however, exactly what people on the far left already believed. He infuriated the far right by not suggesting, as Jeb Bush recently did, that we should go to war more places to attain our domination. No, those weren't his words but what else would accomplish the neocon goals of American influence becoming the law of other lands?
Unlike the far right, I don't think Obama wanted to sell us out by what he said. I just think he buys a very liberal view of life where logic rules and people basically want to be nice to each other unless something has warped their view-- and then that can be fixed. Yes, a very sweet world we would all live in if we just did this or that.
Except as a moderate, I don't see that works. Besides human nature being a factor in how people behave, nobody should underestimate religious zeal where logic doesn't play a role.
The leader of the Islamic State is drawing those to him by using religion. He may even believe in what he is saying. He is no secular leader-- yet anyway. He is claiming to be the one they have been waiting for to usher in the Apocalypse. That kind of claim is what leads young girls to run away from home to head to a war torn land. That kind of thinking does not listen to logic. It is on a crusade! To fool ourselves as to what we are facing is not about to help the situation. Yes, most believers in Islam are as horrified as the rest of us at the cruelty that has been used. It doesn't take most of them to make this a worldwide crusade!