As ISIS gains more attention and notoriety some seek to place attention on the wider Muslim community and Islam itself. This is to be expected, ISIS after all claim to be an Islamic group, the I in ISIS or IS stands for ‘Islamic’, and they have declared a so-called Islamic Caliphate.
While it is fair to ask questions and to examine the issue, what is not fair and what is certainly not excusable is to feed into Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hysteria. Ever since the emergence of ISIS there have been some who have used the opportunity to try and demonize the Islamic faith, arguing that ISIS are merely replicating what they see in their scriptures, and that they are being good Muslims. At the same time while demonizing Islam some also seek to undermine and cast suspicion on the wider Muslim community of more than 1.5 billion.
In the midst of all this the one thing that is ignored for some reason, is that those on the frontlines opposing ISIS are Muslims. Many often ask where are the Muslims standing up against the extremists, and why don’t Muslims do anything? In this case such arguments cannot be put forth as the facts show the contrary, however though that hasn’t stopped people from using such arguments.
In Syria and Iraq, before the western coalition ever decided to get involved in attacking ISIS, Muslims in the area were involved in tackling the ISIS menace. In January of this year major clashes erupted in Syria between several rebel groups, who also happened to be Islamic groups in many cases, against ISIS. These battles saw ISIS completely removed at the time from the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, ISIS since then have managed to make their way back into the province of Aleppo, yet in the province of Idlib their presence is nil.
Most recently as well reports have come out from Iraq about massacres and mass graves dug up of Sunni tribesmen who were opposed to ISIS, with the number of killed Sunni tribesmen at 300 so far. In the summer of this year there was a larger massacre committed by ISIS members in eastern Syria against another Sunni tribe who refused ISIS’ leadership, the Sheitaat tribe rose up and revolted against ISIS, before ISIS eventually put them down with 700 members of the tribe reportedly killed by ISIS.
Yet in spite of all this, clearly showing that it is Muslims who are on the frontlines facing, opposing, and dying against ISIS, many want to persistently say where are the Muslims? Or try to link ISIS with Islam. What about linking the people opposed to ISIS to Islam, perhaps that doesn’t fit the convenient narrative.
Another point that needs to be established as well is that it’s not only Muslims that are the predominate ones on the frontline against ISIS, but it is also Muslims who happen to be the predominate victims of ISIS.
These facts however don’t fit the narrative of some who sadly have a very black and white agenda of demonizing the Islamic faith, and casting suspicions on Muslims as all being extremists just waiting to happen. It can’t fit the narrative after all, it doesn’t sound too good to lay out the facts which clearly show that ISIS’ main opposition are Muslims, and ISIS’ main victims are Muslims, with these irrefutable facts it becomes pretty hard to argue their points, so these facts are either ignored or mentioned in passing like they don’t exist.
At the end of the day the very fact you don’t have the majority of Muslims flocking to Syria and Iraq is proof of how most Muslims don’t approve of ISIS. ISIS after all have declared an Islamic caliphate, and if Muslims did really believe in ISIS’ legitimacy you would be expecting hundreds of millions of Muslims to flock towards to the so called caliphate. Yet all we find are a few thousand misguided and lost young men and women deciding to make the journey towards Syria to join up with ISIS, with many of them realizing the mistake they’ve done afterwards and wanting to return back home but are fearful of the repercussions from ISIS and the authorities.