Hardly a single day passes by these days when we don’t hear about the brutality of ISIS. Every day, we read about them, capturing over some territory of Iraq or Syria. Every day on television, we find them beheading someone or raping women or selling or torturing them. News like this usually gives us goosbump but the pertinent question is what ISIS is? Who these mass murderers are? What are their mottoes? Are they really posing serious challenges for the entire world community?
Sunni and Shia –Let’s understand the basic bone of contention
To really sneak into the dark world of ISIS, first we need to understand the principle division in the Islamic world. The entire Islamic world is mainly divided into two different sects: Shia Muslim and Sunni Muslim. Interestingly, both agree on the fundamentals of Islam and believe in the holy Quran, but differences arise on the question of after the death Prophet Muhammad, who would succeed him as a leader of the Muslim community.
Who are Sunni Muslims?
-Sunni chose Abu Bakr as a successor of Prophet Muhammad.
-They look themselves as the “keeper of true faith” of Islam.
-80% of the world’s Muslim population is Sunni.
-ISIS and Al- Qaeda belong to Sunni.
-They pray five times a day.
-They even use a different mat for prayer in comparison to Shia.
-They have congenital hatred and hostility towards Shia so it’s obvious that it —would lead to a wider confrontation between them.
-Some Sunnis consider Shias more dangerous than the threat of America.
Who are these Shia Muslims
-Shias are descended from Muhammad’s daughter, Fatima. They want Prophet Muhammad’s son-in-lawAli to be the successor of Prophet Muhammad.
-They pray three times a day.
-They are minority as most of the places.
-In Iraq and Iran-they are in the majority.
Friendship between Sunni and Shia
In current scenario, it seems almost impossible at wider scale.
- They are one of the most notorious jihadist militant groups with a clear goal to establish a fully Sunni Islamic state based on Sharia law.
- Sharia law is totally based upon the interpretation of the holy Quran.
- They want to establish a ‘purified’ world and get rid of everyone who doesn’t agree with their religious views.
- Of course, they are so brutal and violent.
So, how ISIS is originated?
Here first let try to find out how this notorious terrorist organization come into existence and for this we need to understand the basic demographic of Middle East.
ISIS is the part of a Sunni branch of Islam, which is known as Salafists. They reject modern Islam and prefer to return to its original teachings.
Sunni Muslims make up 90% population in the Middle East but still they are in minority in Iraq and Iran.
- ISIS is a successor to al-Qaeda in Iraq (al-Qaeda is organization of Sunni Muslims, where Iraqi government is controlled by Shia).
In Iraq 60 to 65 percent of the population belongs to the Shia community.
When the U.S. forces left Iraq, it was a country with a democratically-elected government which belonged to Shia. In those periods the remnants of Al Qaeda (aggrieved Sunni Muslims) reformed into a group that is known as ISIS.
- Gradually they started building support base and taking control of Sunni-majority areas in Iraq.
Iraqi Ex-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was a Shia Muslim.
Under Maliki, Iraq’s Sunni population was neglected. He refused to cooperate politically with Sunnis. Obviously! it led wider displeasure among Sunnis and they started seeking justice and representation in the form of ISIS.
- Currently Syria too is ruled by Shia government, and wide scale oppression of Sunnis is well documented.
In Syrian civil war, ISIS consolidated their support among Sunnis and motivated them to take up arms with them and Sunnis happily supported them.
ISIS is now rapidly growing in numbers; they’ve taken over substantial land in both Syria and Iraq.
They are now even arming children who are aged between nine or ten so you can guess how violent they are intending to solve their wider purposes.
What is caliphate?
Caliph is the person considered as a political and religious successor to the prophet Muhammad.
- He is considered the leader of the entire Muslim community.
- A caliphate is a form of Islamic government led by a caliph.
In the captured terrorist of Iraq and Syria, ISIS declared caliphate.
ISIS sees its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the caliph of its new region.
Now, who is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?
- He is the leader of ISIS.
- His followers call him ‘Commander of the Believers.’
- In 2004, he was arrested and jailed.
- He has $10m bounty on his head.
Area captured by ISIS
- ISIS has now control of a huge swath of land in Syria and Iraq.
- ISIS has taken over the major cities in the western part of Iraq like Mosul and Tikrit, which are mainly populated by Sunnis.
Attitude of ISIS towards non-believers?
The brutality of ISIS is growing by every passing day.
- They conduct mass beheading of non-believers.
- They indulge in mass rape and violence against women.
- They capture women and then sold or give them to militants.
- They conduct mass genocide in Iraq and Syria.
- They force non-Sunni Muslims to convert or to be killed.
- They strictly enforce Sharia Law in the territory they control.
Who funds ISIS?
- With assets is worth over $2 billion, ISIS is one of the richest jihadist groups. Oh, so they have hell lot of money to operate.
- They have taken over more and more oil fields in Iraq.
- They do oil smuggling. They load the oil onto trucks, sneak it into neighbor countries like Turkey, Jordan and Syria and sell it on the black market at low-cost.
- Like everyone wants cheap goods to buy. The same way Importer countries too enjoy the infusion of low-cost oil and not make any strong objection to stop it. Obviously, no one would want!!!
- They also receive donations from nearby Gulf countries (of course from Sunni dominated).
Hi tech organisation
- And yeah, they are quite tech savvy too.
- They have many good social media strategists to disseminate its messages and deeds and connect to people across the globe.
- They have multiple Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram accounts.
- And more surprisingly, they have an official Google app named ‘Dawn of Glad Tidings’.
What is Islamic state of Iraq and Levant (ISIL)
Since ISIS has declared caliphate over captured territory they started to call themselves as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). There is not any difference between ISIS and ISIL.
Impact of ISIS across globe
- Due to their daily brutal activities, the fear of Islamophobia is rapidly growing across globe.
- Muslims are automatically becoming suspects of all major terrorist activity happening all across the world.
- Many innocents and liberal Muslims are paying the price for it.
- Mostly Muslims still reject the philosophy of ISIS. But at the same time, ISIS enjoys the support of a very vast majority of Muslims.
- Young boys are girls are continuously getting fascinated by the way ISIS operates and they easily got lured to join this evil force. Some random teenagers or some educated professionals joining ISIS are the most common news we daily encounter.
- Many Muslim religious leaders, even issued fatwa against them and declared them the ‘enemy of Islam’ by stressing that Islam never preaches violence.
- All countries across globe are keeping their eyes on alert and taking every possible step to stop any untoward incidents conducted by this group.