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The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Peacekeepers or resource raiders: The ISIS dilemma

In this Oct. 6, 2014 file photo, smoke rises after a shell lands in Kobani in Syria as fighting intensifies between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, as seen from the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border. After two months, the U.S.-led aerial campaign in Iraq has so far hardly dented the core of the Islamic State group’s territory. The extremists’ grip on major cities across Iraq and neighboring Syria remains unquestioned. The campaign has brought some gains, with Kurdish fighters taking back towns on the fringes of the Islamic State group’s territory. But those successes only underline a major weakness: Besides the Iraqi Kurds, there are no forces on the ground ready to capitalize on the airstrikes. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
In this Oct. 6, 2014 file photo, smoke rises after a shell lands in Kobani in Syria as fighting intensifies between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group, as seen from the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border. After two months, the U.S.-led aerial campaign in Iraq has so far hardly dented the core of the Islamic State group’s territory. The extremists’ grip on major cities across Iraq and neighboring Syria remains unquestioned. The campaign has brought some gains, with Kurdish fighters taking back towns on the fringes of the Islamic State group’s territory. But those successes only underline a major weakness: Besides the Iraqi Kurds, there are no forces on the ground ready to capitalize on the airstrikes. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

If you have been following the news in the slightest, you’ve probably heard a lot about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). There have been countless articles that have made a spectacle of the imminent threat that this group poses to Western countries, such as a recent article from The National Interest that described it as “a clear and present threat to the U.S. homeland.” Despite all of the hype, however, there are people who disagree with the idea that ISIS poses a relevant threat.

An article from The Daily Beast described the national focus on ISIS as “threat inflation” and any potential military action taken against ISIS as a step towards “our next dumb war.”  The contradictory threat inflation and the supposed insignificance of ISIS pose a poignant question: Why have we as a country been so intent on labeling ISIS as a threat? What is the advantage of creating a false threat and inevitably engaging it in military action?

The March 19th Anti-War Coalition seems to have the answer to these questions. Members of this organization have been handing out informational leaflets on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus throughout September. The leaflets delve into the many foreign (and military) affairs that the U.S. has been and is currently engaged in. The group’s message can be summed up by a few statements from their most recent leaflet: “The U.S. has “have gun, will travel” policies under the guise of ‘humanitarian intervention’ or ‘promotion of democracy.’ In reality, the aim is to pursue positions of power and natural resources in the world for U.S. corporations at the expense of competitions, and financial and military corporate profits.” The Middle East is a rich source for oil and freshwater. The U.S. has been involved in the Middle East for decades for reasons that differ depending on perspective.

As American involvement in the Middle East has begun to wind down towards the end of the Obama administration, it is entirely possible that the U.S. is using ISIS as a means to extend its involvement in the area. A war with ISIS would provide the U.S. with an excuse to remain in Iraq and Syria and maintain whatever political and economic footholds they have established over the better part of century.

Cynics and patriots may be quick to dismiss these ideas and perhaps even mark them as anti-American, however, it is important for American citizens to remain critical and outspoken. If we as the American people wish to have some sort of say regarding the foreign policies that the government administers, we need to stop believing all of the propaganda that we are force fed by the media. It is not unpatriotic to be a critical citizen, but rather a homage to the very principles that this country was founded upon.

Until there is concrete evidence discovered that ISIS poses a serious threat to U.S., the American population needs to be outspoken in its disapproval of any military action taken against ISIS. The United States does not need another senseless war.

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  • A

    ArafatOct 26, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Page 3.

    “Muslims only kill in self-defense.”

    The Muslim Game:

    Muslims often claim that their religion only orders them to kill in self-defense (ie. when their own lives are in danger).

    The Truth:

    In fact, self-defense is just one of several conditions under which Muslims are permitted to take the lives of others. The myth of killing only in self-defense is easily disproved from the accounts of Muhammad’s own life as recorded in Islam’s sacred texts (with which Muslim terrorists are only too familiar).

    Muhammad’s career of killing began with raids on merchant caravans traveling between Syria and Mecca. His men would usually sneak up on unsuspecting drivers and kill those who defended their goods. There was no self-defense involved here at all (on the part of the Muslims, at least). This was old-fashioned armed robbery and murder – sanctioned by Allah (according to Muhammad, who also demanded a fifth of the loot for himself).

    The very first battle that Muhammad fought was at Badr, when a Meccan army of 300 was sent out to protect the caravans from Muslim raids. The Meccans did not threaten Muhammad, and (turning this Muslim myth on its ear) only fought in self-defense after they were attacked by the Muslims. Following the battle, Muhammad established the practice of executing surrendered captives – something that would be repeated on many other occasions.

    The significance of this episode can hardly be overstated, because it lies at the very beginning of the long chain of Muslim violence that eventually passed right through the heart of America on September 11th. The early Muslims were not being threatened by those whom they attacked, and certainly not by those whom they had captured. They staged aggressive raids to eventually provoke war, just as al-Qaeda attempts to do in our time.

    Muslims try to justify Muhammad’s violence by claiming that he and his followers “suffered persecution” at the hands of the Meccans in an earlier episode, in which Muhammad was evicted from the city of Mecca and had to seek refuge at Medina. But even the worst of this persecution did not rise to the level of killing. Nor were Muhammad and his Muslims in any danger at all in their new home of Medina. They were free to get on with their lives.

    Even Muhammad’s own men evidently questioned whether they should be pursuing and killing people who did not pose a threat to them, since it seemed to contradict earlier, more passive teachings. To convince them, Muhammad passed along a timely revelation from Allah stating that “the persecution of Muslims is worse than slaughter [of non-Muslims]” (Sura 2:191). This verse established the tacit principle that the authority of Muslims is of higher value even than the very lives of others. There is no larger context of morality against which acts are judged. All that matters is how an event impacts or benefits Muslims.

    Under Muhammad, slaves and poets were executed, captives were beheaded, and adulterers were put into the ground and stoned. None of these were done during the heat of battle or necessitated by self-defense. To this day, Islamic law mandates death for certain crimes such as blasphemy and apostasy.

    Following his death, Muhammad’s companions stormed the Christian world – taking the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe. They attacked and conquered to the East as well, including Persia, Central Asia, and well into the Indian sub-continent. Few, if any, of these campaigns involved the pretense of self-defense. They were about Jihad.

  • A

    ArafatOct 26, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Page 2.

    “The Qur’an Teaches that all Life is Sacred”
    (Qur’an, Verse 5:32)

    The Muslim Game:

    In an effort to portray their religion as non-violent, Muslim apologists vigorously employ verse 5:32, which would appear to promote a universal principal that all life is sacred to Allah – especially the way it is typically quoted by apologists:

    “…if any one slew a person… it would be as if he slew a whole people; and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of a whole people…”
    (As quoted by the Fiqh Council of North America in their ultimately meaningless “Fatwa against Terrorism”)

    The Truth:

    This fragment of verse 5:32 is what the apologists want non-Muslims to believe is in the Qur’an, as opposed to the dozens of other open-ended passages that command warfare, beheadings and torture. But even what they usually quote from 5:32 isn’t quite how it appears. Remember all those ellipses? There’s something being left out.

    Here’s the full text of the verse:

    “On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.”

    First, notice the gaping loophole. Killing is allowed in cases of murder or “for spreading mischief in the land.” Murder is pretty straightforward, but “spreading mischief?” If anything begged for a careful and precise explanation, this phrase certainly would. But generations of Muslims are left to apply their own interpretation of what “mischief” means – with varying standards. Violating Sharia law or sharing a different religious faith appears to qualify. Verse 7:103 of the Quran even indicates that merely rejecting Muhammad and the Quran counts as “mischief”.

    Secondly, note the broader context of this verse. It turns out that this isn’t a divine command to Muslims after all. It’s a recounting of a rule that was given to the Jews. It isn’t an admonition against killing. It’s an indictment against the Jews for violating the law given to them. “Any one” doesn’t mean “anyone,” but rather “any one” of the Jews.

    Any application to Muslims would have to apply only to Muslims – as in Muslim on Muslim murder within the brotherhood of believers. In fact, the context of the verse is the murder of Abel by Cain. Historically, this verse has never been interpreted by Islamic scholars to mean that Allah places equal value on the lives of non-Muslims. The Quran says that restitution for murder is bound by the law of equality (2:178) and that non-believers are not equal to Muslims (39:09). Muhammad affirmed that while a Muslim may be punished with death for killing a fellow Muslim, they should never be slain for killing a non-believer.

    Rather than encouraging tolerance, Sura 5 as a whole is actually an incitement of hatred with a hint of violence. Jews and Christians are explicitly cursed as ‘wicked’ people with ‘diseased hearts’ and as hateful ‘blasphemers’ respectively. Muhammad goes on to coyly remind his people that Allah loves those who “fight” in his service – and it’s fairly obvious who the enemy is.

    Muslim apologists conveniently leave out the fact that the gruesome verse which follows 5:32 actually mandates killing in the case of the aforementioned “mischief”. It even suggests crucifixion and “the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides.” (This injunction was dutifully followed by ISIS in 2014)

    Although verse 5:32 recounts the law given to Jews, the verse that follows is clearly intended for Muslims. Verse 5:33 provides the basis for blasphemy laws, in which people are executed for insulting or questioning Islam. Ironically then, the very part of the Quran that apologists use to portray Islam as a non-violent religion has long been used as justification for making verbal offense into a capital crime.

    So, the Quran’s best example of moral instruction is a passage which actually mandates the torture and execution of those deemed a threat to Islamic hegemony…

    With this being the best that Islam has to offer, it’s not hard to guess why the religion contributes over a thousand deadly terrorist attacks to the world each and every year.

  • A

    ArafatOct 26, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Jad,

    Is this why your prophet (Mohammed) did all the things you mention, i.e., because they are against Muslim principles?
    ===
    The Muslim Game:

    In order to give others the impression that Muhammad was a man of peace, Muslims sometimes claim that he never killed anyone. By this, they mean that he never slew anyone with his own hand (except in battle… which they may or may not remember to mention).

    The Truth:

    By this logic, Hitler never killed anyone either.

    Obviously, if you order the execution of prisoners or the murder of critics by those who are under your command, then you are at least as guilty as those who carry out your orders. In Muhammad’s case, the number of people that he had murdered were literally too many for historians to fully know.

    There were the men taken prisoner at Badr (including one who cried out for his children at the point of execution), a mother of five (stabbed to death for questioning Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet), dozens of Jewish citizens, including poets and merchants who were accused of mocking Islam, numerous adulterers, at least one slave girl, 800 Qurayza men and boys taken captive and beheaded on Muhammad’s order, a Qurayza woman made delirious by the execution of her family, and an unfortunate individual who was tortured to death so that the prophet of Islam could discover his hidden treasure and then “marry” his freshly-widowed wife.

    Indirectly, Muhammad is also responsible for the millions upon millions of people who have been slaughtered down through the centuries by those carrying on his legacy of Jihad. Not only did he kill, he is truly one of the bloodiest figures in history.

  • J

    JadOct 24, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Arafat, not to start a whole debate right now but if you knew something about Islam, you would know that if a Muslim person commits rape or the killing of someone for a reason other than self-defense, then they are not a follower of Islam. The Quran clearly states that if someone commits one of the two, they are not a follower of Islam. What you are saying is just some ignorant bs you heard on the media to damage the reputation of Islam. Those people who commit those crimes are not followers of Islam, they are just a bunch of nutjobs that enjoy inflicting harm upon others for self-gain.

  • A

    ArafatOct 22, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    A beheading in Woolwich, a suicide bomb in Beijing, a blown-up marathon in Boston, a shooting in the head of a young Pakistani girl seeking education, a destroyed shopping mall in Nairobi – and so it continues, in the name of Islam, from south London to Timbuktu. It is time to take stock, especially on the left, since these things are part of the world’s daily round.
    Leave aside the parrot-cry of “Islamophobia” for a moment. I will return to it. Leave aside, too, the pretences that it is all beyond comprehension. “Progressives” might ask instead: what do Kabul, Karachi, Kashmir, Kunming and a Kansas airport have in common? Is it that they all begin with “K”? Yes. But all of them have been sites of recent Islamist or, in the case of Kansas, of wannabe-Islamist, attacks; at Wichita Airport planned by a Muslim convert ready to blow himself up, and others, “in support of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”. “We cannot stop lone wolves,” a British counterterrorism expert told us after Woolwich. Are they “lone”? Of course not.
    A gas facility in southern Algeria, a hospital in Yemen, an Egyptian police convoy in the Sinai – it’s complex all right – a New Year’s party in the southern Philippines, a railway station in the Caucasus, a bus terminal in Nigeria’s capital, and on and on, have all been hit by jihadis, with hostages taken, suicide belts detonated, cars and trucks exploded, and bodies blown to bits. And Flight MH370? Perhaps. In other places – in Red Square and Times Square, in Jakarta and New Delhi, in Amman and who-knows-where in Britain – attacks have been thwarted. But in 2013 some 18 countries got it in the neck (so to speak) from Islam’s holy warriors….

    But let’s blame America, OK?

  • A

    ArafatOct 22, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Fabio,

    You learned your lessons well:

    Remember, when Muslims steal, rape and kill, they are never to blame…