BY ASGHAR KHAN
With ISIS on the retreat and soon to be taking their last stand in Syria, one wonders how they will be recollected by History. It seems inevitable now that their so-called Islamic state will shortly be eviscerated.
Certainly, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (otherwise known as Daesh, ISIL and by a whole string of other names) will be remembered for the atrocities they committed in the name of their professed religion, Islam.
The siege of Mount Sinjar springs to mind when, between August 3rd and 14th of 2014, Islamic State terrorists cut off and surrounded thousands of Yazidi civilians on Mount Sinjar in Northern Iraq. At least 500 men were slaughtered execution-style, with an unknown number of women being captured and sold into slavery. At least 70 children were reported to have died of thirst, while at least 50 of the elderly perished.
Hostage beheadings, child crucifixions, twisted killings – the burning of Jordanian pilot Muath Al-Kasaesbeh standing in a cage, doused with gasoline, and eventually set on fire before being crushed under a load of giant rocks – the execution of 600 Iraqi captives, the beheading of 4 Iraqi children for refusing to convert to Islam, the medieval torture of woman caught breastfeeding with a bear-trap-like device clamped to her breasts, thousands of Yazidi women sold into sex slavery … the list of atrocities inside ISIS’ crumbling “caliphate” is a long and pathetic one which puts them down there in the gutter alongside other despicable terrorist entities like Al Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Al-Shabaab, and the paedophiles of Boko Haram
Of course, ISIS’ atrocities were not confined to the lands they stole. There were the Paris shootings, the Nice lorry massacre, the beheading of the French Priest Jacques Hamel, the Brussels bombings, San Bernardino, the Orlando gay nightclub attack and numerous terrorist incidents in Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt and elsewhere.
ISIS will be remembered for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the black-clad ISIS Leader who laughingly, deludedly called on the world’s Muslims to “obey” him as “the leader who presides over you”. The same al-Baghdadi who is accused of kidnapping, enslaving, and repeatedly raping an American citizen, Kayla Mueller, who was later killed. The same al-Baghdadi who was ridiculed by the Western media for sporting an ill-fitting chrome, expensive wrist watch while delivering his “caliph” lecture in July 2014.
Then of course there was Jihadi John – the Isis executioner – who was notoriously described as an ‘extremely kind, gentle, beautiful young man’ by the disreputable Director of Cage, Islamic terror apologist Asim Qureshi. The same Jihadi John who beheaded American journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, American Peter Kassig and the two Japanese men Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto.
Aside from the atrocities, ISIS will be remembered for their use of social media to propagandise, radicalise and recruit. Never in history had terrorists had such easy access to the minds and eyeballs of millions. ISIS at one point, according to The Quilliam Foundation in London, was releasing on the web, on average, 38 new items per day—20-minute videos, full-length documentaries, photo essays, audio clips, and pamphlets, in languages ranging from Russian to Bengali.
ISIS will be remembered too for their trade in – and destruction of – historical artefacts. Their demolition of cultural heritage in the form of mosques and churches, shrines, libraries and ancient sites, such as Palmyra, left them with artefacts they could sell for many millions of dollars on the black market. Some even reached collectors in London.
Also, their trade in oil – reports claiming at one point that ISIS was making as much as $3 million a day from its Syrian oil operations alone – will be recorded in history alongside the numerous enablers from Turkey and around the globe who permitted oil deals to occur. When the dust finally settles after ISIS is terminated, there will surely be investigations into the ISIS oil sales collaborators.
But, above all, Isis will be remembered for further dragging down the religion of Islam into the mire. A religion already tainted by the 9/11 attacks in New York and by a series of sordid and infantile events, like the Danish cartoons crisis, which made most mature and intelligent folk look up and think, “hold on a second, these Islamic people, they are dumb believing that rot – if anyone’s evil, they are. I’ll be staying an Infidel, thank you very much.”
Nowadays, every new terror attack, negative press story about burkinis or other “provocation that supports radical Islam”, as French Presidential hopeful Nicholas Sarkozy calls them, tarnishes Islam even more.
Mention Islam now and people read V-e-i-l as E-v-i-l and see a proselytising Islam as a sinister phenomenon they want to stop. Without radical Islam and its multiple recent horrors, political demagogues such as Le Pen, Trump and even Nigel Farage would not have garnered popularity so effortlessly. Groups like Pegida in Germany are already plotting pogroms. In Bulgaria and Serbia Muslim refugees get fired at when they dare approach their borders.
ISIS will be remembered alongside Al Qaeda and the Taliban as subhuman muck that sent the religion of Islam into a tailspin and headlong into a crisis it will be fortunate to ever recover from. Giving a bad name to good people who also happen to be Muslims.