Originally published in Patheos
Over the past few years, ISIS has emerged from the shadows of a failed Arab Spring in Syria and sectarian violence in Iraq to become a dominant player in global terrorism. The brutalities, that took the form of beheadings of foreign journalists and aid workers and enslavement of women and children often concentrated in the Middle East, have recently escalated onto a global scale. The coordinated attacks in Paris that left about 130 people dead, and the supposed bombing of a Russian passenger jet over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, have expanded the spectrum of their barbarity.
As the world looks in horror at ISIS’ atrocious campaign, several views have been proposed to stop the current spate of violence by this monstrous group. I am here proposing four simple ways of strangling this group without breaking a sweat.
Funding and arms embargo
It is a well-known fact in modern times that no individual or organization can thrive without financial support. As posited by the head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, how has ISIS managed to survive for all these years without an easy flow of cash into their coffers? What are they doing with the oil wells under their control and who are the clients for their products such as precious artifacts and oil? In addition, which countries or groups supply ISIS with weapons and other logistics? Like many developing countries, ISIS does not have the capability or technical know how to manufacture their own weapons unless they buy them from the black market.
If ISIS continues to have a ready market for their product and are able to purchase arms freely on the market without restrictions, it will be almost impossible to eradicate or subdue their influence. Therefore, cutting off money, logistics and an arms supply will deprive this group of their very sustenance that can ultimately lead to a withering demise.
Balance media reporting on Islam
The current media reporting seems to indicate that the billion or so peaceful Muslims across the globe are doing very little to nothing to counteract ISIS’ extremist views. Thus ISIS and groups like it have successfully hijacked Islam for political or personal gains. The desire by the media to report on only the extremists to the detriment of what the larger peaceful Muslim communities are trying to achieve is obviously for TV ratings and newspaper sales. This in turn has created a fertile environment for ISIS to thrive and have propelled the group into infamy. It is ironic that when the leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community conveys the message of peace to places such as the European parliament, Dutch national parliament and at Capitol Hill in USA it hardly makes the news but instead when Abu Bakar Al–Baghdadi, the head of a terrorist group, issues a threat obviously to incite fear, it becomes a 24-hour news bulletin by the major news outlets.
If the media give ISIS and other terrorist groups a less limited platform to spew their unfounded version of Islam, the fear and propaganda they currently enjoy will slowly fall into obscurity.
The British government banned the reporting of IRA terrorist activity in Northern Ireland between 1988-1994 but in the current social media environment, it is impossible not to report on any terrorist group. However, if TV ratings and newspaper sales supersedes the reporting on what the vast majority of peaceful Muslims are doing to bring real change in society, we will collectively elevate the infamy of terrorists and they will use their new found fame to intimidate and determine our way of life.
Social media ban or filtering
As suggested by CIA Director Brennan, ISIS is whispering into the ears of potential recruits or ISIS members in many advanced countries to carry out attacks through social media and thus making it difficult to fight them. It will not be out of place for the safety our nation to simple delete or block the account of members suspected of collaborating with ISIS.
Also if social media organizations stop hosting their slick propaganda videos on their servers, their success stories of recruiting from Western countries will come to a halt.
Objective analysis of ISIS
Many youth from developed countries have become radicalized by hate filled clerics simply because our actions have served as a potential recruiting tool to their course. A case in point is Islamophobia that unfortunately exists among us. There are millions, and likely over a billion Muslims across the globe who are disgusted or feel ashamed by the bad reputation ISIS has brought to Islam. To be clear, ISIS is not an Islamic organization because nothing in the Holy Quran, Sunna or Hadith (practices and sayings of Prophet Muhammad) permit the killing of innocent souls, or raping of women as part of faith. Therefore, we should desist from conflating ISIS with Islam.
Unbiased analysis of the current ISIS crisis without any prejudice will stop their very means of recruiting the marginalized, unemployed or ignorant youth from joining.
The current ISIS crisis is multifaceted in nature and therefore any means possible to strangle them from the source is a welcoming relief for the safety of our nation