By Monica Ortega
A series of events have transpired recently that has led to multiple countries taking action against ISIS in one form or another. This extremist group has carried out multiple terrorist attacks on the world, much like the recent event which occurred in Paris leaving 130 people dead.
As evidenced by recent events like the attack in San Bernardino, CA ISIS actions are not motivated by the teachings of Islam, but instead an extremist, radicalized perversion of the religion’s texts.
This group truly displays the concept of globalization. The entire world is listening to what ISIS is saying. On Sunday, the president of the United States, Barack Obama, gave a speech as to what his plan was to keep the American people safe in this time of such high threat. His speech consisted of policies which would make it harder for attackers to buy guns in the U.S. He wanted to focus on ensuring that the main priority of safety was within the country. He stated that he did not want to get into direct war with ISIS on their grounds by sending in our troops.
However, he stated that the U.S. and its allies are going to continue to send airstrikes as well as provide training for the rebels of Iraq and Syria. The UK sent airstrikes on ISIS oilfields on Saturday. Eight attacks were carried out, and early reports suggest that they were successful and the UK jets struck ISIS.
Although the United States has made it clear that they are not going to send troops to fight ISIS, it is uncertain what other allies might do if there are more attacks. With the constant surge of these terror attacks, many people turn to play some sort of blame game. Many people associate the Muslim religion with the recent attacks..
However, it is important to note that the culture that drives ISIS is entirely separate from the Islamic religion. People are outraged by these events. As a result, they begin to group together Muslim people with these terrorist extremists. This is wrong on so many different levels.
It is sad that this small-minded thinking seems to be flourishing in America. Instead of looking at Muslims and ISIS extremists as two separate entities, people are ignorantly grouping them together, leaving the Islamic community to bear the brunt of negative cultural backlash.
In an article by the BBC, Obama is quoted as saying, “If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism, we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.”. This is an important point brought up by President Obama. We should all continue to keep this in mind during the wake of the attacks.
It is really up to America as a whole to band together and end the negative stigma that we peg onto the Muslim community.
The spread of ISIS is at large. They have proven themselves to have a great influence at a worldwide level. Not only have they have been able to get people in their direct surroundings to follow their radicalized teachings, but also people over seas on our own soil.
Their system of obtaining followers is very elementary in nature. If you teach someone something at a young age when they are impressionable it is easy to mold their feelings. Many of these members of ISIS recruit solely on the basis of banding people together who have an extreme hatred for westernized cultures. They recruit followers at young ages or those who oppose a theme in westernized civilizations. Just by doing that, they have assumed front and center stage of every major news station worldwide recently. They are the hottest topic around and these days it seems nearly impossible to make it through the day without hearing something or seeing something regarding the ISIS movement.
Many Americans probably feel helpless in the midst of all this madness. What can we really control during these times? Well, the way I see it it’s simple. Many, if not all aspects of these situations are completely out of our hands as individuals. The solutions lie within the hands of major world leaders. However, the one thing we can control is eliminating the fact that we group Muslims with terrorist extremists. We can not turn a group against us that entirely separate from ISIS. We should take the words of our president to heart and not push the Muslim people away based off of suspicion and hate, instead of alienating them and playing the blame game. It is very important to embrace our Muslim neighbors and work towards maintaining peaceful relationships with the Muslim community.
Monica Ortega studies International affairs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.