Islamic State have been active over a number of years (initially founded in 1999) but it’s only in more recent times have we been more aware of them. Over the past couple of years in particular they have claimed land in Iraq and Syria. Last June they declared the captured territory a Caliphate and called it the Islamic State. The Syrian city of Raqqa is used as the capital of their Caliphate. They have plans to take over the whole of North Africa and the Middle East. The steal from the people in their state, everything from utilities to the food in their mouths. They rape, torture and behead Muslims for not being a certain type of Muslim. They have caused hundreds of thousands of ordinary people to flee their homes, people who were, a couple of years ago, relatively safe. Doctors, nurses, shop workers, teachers, lecturers, tradesmen, dentists, engineers, the list goes on and would include children just trying to grow up, to learn and who would aspire to be something in life but now find themselves receiving little education as they are shunted through Europe.
They hate the West. They hate anything but their way of interpreting Islam. They hate Russia. They just hate anything that isn’t them.
Since October 31st this year they have caused the deaths of 417* innocent people. People taking a flight home from a holiday or enjoying a night out or who just live in the wrong neighbourhood and those who were simply serving in the army of their country.
- October 31st – Metro Jet airliner crashed in Egypt Sinai, 224 on board. Initially believed to be a crash after take off the evidence started pointing towards a bomb. Islamic State claimed it and Russia confirmed it.
- November 12th – Beruit: two suicide bombers killed 44 people in the mainly Shia suburb of Burj al-Barajneh. The neighbourhood is under the wing of Hezbollah. Hezbollah are fighting Islamic State in Syria.
- November 13th – Paris: 130 people are killed as Islamic State gunmen begin firing on restaurants and cafe’s in the city. Out of the 130, 89 are killed in Batalan Concert Hall as they tried to have a nice Friday night out watching a favourite band. They rest were killed for relaxing on a Friday night with a meal or drink out. Three suicide bombers fail in their attempt to attack the Stade de France thanks to hawk-eyed security guards (one who is Muslim). President Hollande declares war on Islamic State.
- November 20th – Yemen: In the eastern region of Hadramawt Islamic State claimed an attack on the army which Yemeni security sources say killed 19 Yemeni soldiers.
In three weeks they’ve caused the deaths of 417* innocent people and these are the ones we’re aware of. Undoubtedly many more will have died at their hands.
We know about their spate of beheading’s that seem to have begun in July with the slaughter of 75 Syrian soldiers. Their heads and bodies displayed in the streets.
- James Foley, American freelance journalist and Syrian Civil War photojournalist, was captured in Syria on November 22 2012. He was held until August 19th 2014 when ISIL (as they were known then) beheaded him. He was the first American citizen to be killed but the so-called Jihadi John.
- Steven Sotloff, Israeli-American journalist. He was kidnapped in Aleppo, Syria in 2013. On September 2nd 2014 a video was released of Jihadi John beheading him.
- David Haines, British aid worker working in Syria. He was kidnapped in March 2013. His family had asked that his capture was not made public knowledge, however, David appeared in the video of Steven Sotloff murder with Jihadi John holding him and declaring that he would be the next to be killed.
- Alan Henning, British aid worker. He was delivering humanitarian aid in the ISIL occupied Syrian city of Al-Dana at the time of his capture in December 2013. He was killed by beheading on October 3rd 2014.
These are just some of the western people beheaded by IS (ISIL). It’s thought that between July 2014 and August 2015 that 303 people from all nationalities and religions were beheaded by the terrorist group. This death toll is an estimate given that other hostages have disappeared with no-one knowing where.
So, that’s the Islamic State in almost 700 words.
Not a particularly nice bunch of people. If you are different from them they hate you. They hate us all. They hate how we live our lives, they hate other Muslims who live elsewhere and who condemn them for their actions. They don’t care if they kill people who share the religion they claim to be theirs. If you don’t interpret Islam as IS does then you are not a Muslim.
What they do like, though, is killing people and the hate they can spread through us by killing us and claiming to do it in the name of Islam. It’s a good tactic from them because they are proclaiming to have done their deeds in the name of all Muslims. Yep, even the man who’s owned the paper shop and general store at the end of the street for the last thirty years. Even in the name of that little girl who proudly strode down the street on her first day of school in August, proud in her uniform.
Except they aren’t. In fact, they hate that shop owner and that little girl as much as they hate everything else. However, while the claim to be acting for all of Islam is false, it’s being believed and that’s exactly what they want. They want you to now eye that shop owner with suspicion and if you stop shopping there then that’s even better. If someone sprays hateful word across his shop window and attack him as he leaves for the night, Islamic State will celebrate it. Why? Their aim, especially in the west is to cause hate amongst us, to turn neighbour against neighbour, to make us fearful of Muslims here and for us to fear them.
A mother in Edinburgh has pulled her daughter out of school due to an increase in bullying since last Friday in Paris. The girl, un-named, has been called names, had her hijab pulled. It might seem nothing but the school didn’t seem concerned about it (or didn’t know how to deal with it) and allowed it to go on. A child who just wants to learn with her classmates is tormented thanks to a bunch of lunatics.
Police Scotland today released a statement about safety in Scotland because of the terrorist threat but also included hate crimes into the message, DCC Livingstone said:
“We take a firm stance on dealing with all allegations of hate crime including those motivated by racial and religious intolerance. The increased police activity in responding to international terrorism is matched by the increased efforts of Police Scotland officers dealing with hate crime.
“I am disappointed to say that since the tragic incidents in France last Friday, there have been 64 hate crimes reported to Police Scotland which were racially or religiously motivated. While we cannot say how many of these were motivated by last week’s events, these are 64 crimes too many and are not in keeping with our traditions of a multicultural Scotland. Of these 64 crimes I am pleased to say that 40 have been solved so far and I am confident more arrests will follow.
“People of all the faiths, and of none, should live in a Scotland that is free from hate crime and discrimination. The vast majority of Scotland respects the rule of law and welcomes diversity across the communities we live in. Collectively, it is individuals and communities that defeat terrorism, which is why we must sustain the strong relationships that exist in Scotland between our communities and their police service.
“In relation to online crime, our teams based at the Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh will use the very technology that individuals use to send messages of hate to identify and arrest them.”
Indeed it would appear that by assaulting Muslims and by heightening anti-Islamic rhetoric then we’re basically doing what Islamic State want us to do.
French journalist and author, Nicolas Henin, was a hostage of IS for ten months. He notes in his opinion piece written a few days ago that his captors played childish games and played mock beheadings. Nicolas Henin’s title for his opinion piece was I was held hostage by ISIS. They fear our unity more than our airstrikes.
With their news and social media interest, they will be noting everything that follows their murderous assault on Paris, and my guess is that right now the chant among them will be “We are winning”. They will be heartened by every sign of overreaction, of division, of fear, of racism, of xenophobia; they will be drawn to any examples of ugliness on social media.
That’s a quote from a man who knows them, who spent 10 months in their company.
Remember: “They fear our unity.”
There’s a strong message in that.
Listen to it. Please.
* 417 is the number of dead at time of reporting.