The conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims is one which can be traced back decades in history. A recent flame in the form of ISIS has ignited deep-seated anger and intense violence in order to create a caliphate state. The aim of ISIS is to ensure their conservative Islamic views are enforced ultimately across the world, Syria and Iraq being the start.
The whole notion of a caliphate is bemusing; how can a single individual claim to be a political descendant of the Prophet Mohammed with any defiance? How have people just accepted this claim and not challenged the statement? From research, Prophet Mohammed is portrayed as a thoroughly peaceful persona, so why would a political descendant hold the extreme opposite view? The lack of legitimacy within ISIS just adds to the issue. Abu Bakr al Baghdad has been authorised with a dangerously high level of power in order to spread a wave of fear, which is an uncomfortable thought.
ISIS has dominated Mossul and Tikrit, Iraq, by implementing a series of sadistic tests for residents; one of them being the method of prayer. If the method of prayer does not meet Sunni requirements, the civilians are shot in the head. Mossul is Iraq’s second largest city and the centre of trade in Iraq, but the severity of violence has forced more than 500,000 residents to flee their homes. This has led to yet another refugee crisis, especially as the unstable state of Syria neighbours the city.
Innocent lives are being lost in the name of Islam- even though the individuals are complemetly innocent and have not set a foot wrong in plight of this so called ‘holy war’. I understand in every religious group there are denominations who face turmoil, but this battle between the Shia and Sunni Muslims has been particularly tumultuous. Can religion really justify the atrocities seen against basic human rights? Can religion really justify the families torn apart and orphans made? Can religion really justify the arrogant videos of torture posted on social media, to entice dim individuals to travel abroad and “help”?!
I don’t think so either.
What infuriates me further is how young British men feel that they now have a duty to become jihadists; they are lured with misty eyes, believing they are guaranteed a place in heaven. I recently heard one young man who has travelled out to commit jihad on the radio talking about how he felt that the UK possessed evil, yet the UK was where he was born and bred. Much to my confusion, the UK’s enemy persona is a constant theme in Islamist terror. Why turn your back on a country that has given you access to free education, healthcare, as well as the opportunity to practice your religion freely. Why abuse your privileges by partaking in a war which aims to suppress all these human rights?
Despite this, the ISIS crisis has not effectively been tackled by the Iraqi government and I doubt it will be until the west becomes involved. This isn’t a great prospect for either side however, as even more devastation would take place, with even more money wasted on weapons. It is, however, the last chance for the slightest speckle of peace in the Middle East.
The fact which I find truly heartbreaking is how the ISIS and Shia militants will brutally murder and pressure civilians in order to quench their thirst for power. ISIS have assets approximately valued at $2 billion, derived from their weapons and bases. Their youngest recruit is only 10 years of age, a child, who has been deprived of a true childhood and brainwashed by ISIS ideology. ISIS currently has about 7,000 - 10,000 members but only a mere 4,000 (approximately) participated in the capturing of Mosul, an alarming fact which emphasises their strength.
No one can predict how long this horror will last or how many lives are destined to be lost. Something which leaves us once again with an eternal question: when will humanity learn from history?
By Waheeda Ratyal