Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Why Did ISIL Attack Islam?

28 June 2016: Ataturk Airport in Istanbul endures bombings and shootings, exceeding the lethality of a similar incident at Brussels Airport.

3 July 2016: Baghdad endures a terrorist assault that makes the Paris attacks pale in comparison.

ISIL claimed responsibility for both. There can be no dispute. Islamic State is now in open war with Islamic nations. The question is why? Why did ISIL launch terrorist attacks against nations that, while not complicit, have the nearest links to their fundamentalist ideology? The answer didn't lie in the explosions, the bullets or the body count. It was in the reaction.

These two attacks mirrored incidents that had happened not long ago. Iraq's capital city was subject to a multi-faceted attack, akin to those witnessed in France's capital, Paris. An airport in a capital city is subject to a series of assaults; a fact that could easily be attached to Brussels and Istanbul. The difference between is how the West reacted. What was our reaction after Paris and Brussels?

We swarmed over social media to show our solidarity. We changed our profile pictures to have flag filters to offer our moral support. We put up posts to show we stood with the French and Belgian people. We sang their national anthem. We mourned with them. We were one with them.

What did we do for Iraq or Turkey? Minimal posts. No profile picture filters. Limited outrage or outpouring of grief. It got swept under the rug fairly quickly. The Baghdad attack doesn't feature on any of the top read stories on the BBC website. It has only been 3 days. The Paris attacks were still very strongly in public's consciousness 3 days later and beyond.

This proves a core belief that ISIL preaches: The West is hypocritical. It does not care about Muslim lives. It does not care about Islamic beliefs. It cares only about itself. When you look at it, the pathway from someone who is on the fringes of fundamentalism to a fully radicalised individual is easily traced.

Then it becomes clear. Once that individual is radicalised, they seek refuge and identity with those who match their anger, their hatred of the hypocritical Western regime. Baghdad and Ataturk weren't just terrorist attacks; they were recruitment drives. And we, the people, handed them the best advertising campaign with our relative apathy.

You can stray from the Paris & Brussels attack and choose something closer. The Orlando shootings. It resulted in the deaths of 49 people. The Baghdad attacks resulted in a body count of 250. From all forms of media, journalistic and social, the Orlando shootings picked a lot more coverage. The near radicalised individual would think that the West values the life of one gay American above five Iraqis. It's not true but it's not a long stretch to see how they might jump to that conclusion.

So why did ISIL attack Islam? To prove the evils of their enemy. To draw in more soldiers. To be the insidious force they have always been. And they will say that their victory wasn't won in bloodshed. It was won in the relative indifference we showed towards the loss of human life.

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