The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria better known as ISIS, has been blowing up American news since the beginning of the summer, but what really is ISIS and why should you care? ISIS is a Sunni extremist group that has broken off from the terrorist organization al-Qaeda. According to the UN News Center ISIS is considered a terrorist organization not only by the United States, but by the United Nations, and other nations as well. This isn’t the first time ISIS has terrorized Iraq. They have been on the US List of Foreign Terrorist Organizations since December 2004.
ISIS has created an Islamic caliphate, which is an Islamic state lead by a caliph, or successor to Muhammad. According to my textbook, The World of Islam, the word caliphate comes from the arabic word “khalifa,” meaning successor and deputy. This term was created after the death of the prophet Muhammad in 632. Muhammad left no instructions as to who was to be his successor after his death. The Sunni Muslims originated when they selected the first “khalifa”, Abu Bakr as the successor. The leader of ISIS also calls himself Abu Bakr. The goal of ISIS is to create a worldwide caliphate where everyone is under the law of Islam. Anyone who doesn’t cooperate with their new world order is to be murdered. That is what ISIS does. They terrorize the people that don’t follow them. They have been running rampant through the country beheading Christians, the Kurdish people, the Yazidis people, and journalists.
I know that most people out there have at least heard about the beheading of James Foley. That was ISIS’s rebuttal to the US airstrikes in Iraq. That is how ISIS does business with people that oppose them. James Foley was not the first person ISIS has beheaded and you can bet he won’t be the last.
The most important thing we need to take from everything going on in Iraq is that this is really happening to people. We can preoccupy ourselves all day long with things in our own lives and pretend that this stuff isn’t real, but it is. Someone really got his head cut off on camera. That wasn’t an actor who character was dying. That was a person, an American, who was murdered for the world to watch. ISIS continues to murder people even when we aren’t watching. There are thousands of people hiding out on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq trying to keep their heads attached to their bodies. Men, women and children are dying of starvation and thirst trying to hide from this terrorist organization in the wilderness. If ISIS weren’t a real threat, these people wouldn’t have fled their homes to hide in the mountains with nothing more that the clothes on their backs. This. Is. Real.