ISIS Causes Fear in Arrowhead Students

ISIS Causes Fear in Arrowhead Students

Elise Skarda, Reporter

ISIS has murdered thousands of innocent people in the Middle East and other areas in the past few years, all in the name of Islam. ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is a Sunni jihadist group that follows a radical form of Islam. “I feel ISIS(L) is a detriment to society worldwide. I feel that they are a demonstration as to the evil exhibited in the human race,” Arrowhead student Jason Robinson says.

Junior Anika Gupta adds, “I do feel that ISIS is a threat to the US and my everyday life in the future. If they continue to call on their supporters in our country and we have no way of knowing who they are, it could potentially get even more dangerous than it already is.”

ISIS was born from a particularly brutal Iraqi al Qaeda faction in 1999. In 2014, al Qaeda severed all ties with ISIS, and ever since, other smaller jihadist groups have been forced to pick sides between the two.

According to ABC News, ISIS has been able to take over so much land in Iraq and Syria is because they combined military expertise with extreme brutality. In addition, ISIS takes advantage of the fact that the governments in some areas don’t fight back.

Another huge part of ISIS success is the fact that the Iraqi government is made up of mostly Shi’a Muslims, while the Iraqi population is the majority Sunni Muslims. These governments are said to favor Shi’as, which means ISIS often operates in places where the population is more likely to tolerate Sunni ISIS instead of their Shi’a government.

ISIS has also gained supporters through social media. Social media accounts linked to ISIS have posted videos of ISIS soldiers torturing and killing unarmed prisoners. American journalist James Foley was the first to be murdered on film by ISIS, followed by many others. Perhaps one of the most famous recent killings was the Jordanian pilot, who was burned alive.

These videos attract supporters from all parts of the globe, and helped make homegrown terrorism such a threat.

Homegrown terrorism is when citizens take violent action against their own country with the purpose of striking fear in that country. The most recent example of homegrown terrorism in the US was the Orlando shooting, when an American citizen killed 49 people at a nightclub. According to Fox News, during the shooting, this man called 911 and pledged his allegiance to ISIS.

Arrowhead junior Greyson Maclean says, “People have always pledged themselves to groups and committed atrocities for that group. Radical Islamist Terrorism is just a new form of similar people to those homegrown communists and homegrown anarchists of the past.”

Arrowhead students also seem to agree on the ease of which homegrown terrorists can develop. “I think homegrown terrorism is really dangerous,” says junior Reagan Zimmerman. “Since ISIS is posting everything they do online, it’s really easy for Americans to watch the videos and become brainwashed by them.”

“Certain explosives can be easily manufactured and acquired here in the U.S. without problem. For instance, TATP, which was used in the Brussels bombings, is made of two simple compounds that are not tracked by the U.S. government, which makes terrorism easy to commit,” junior Sam Cox says.

Junior Jason Robinson says, “The bulk of our ‘homegrown terrorists’ weren’t actually radicalized in the US, or were mentally disturbed individuals that should already have been watched by the government for risk of them doing crazy things.”
Seeing Muslim extremists in the media committing atrocities also affects Americans view on Muslims. “Because there aren’t many Muslim Americans, it’s very easy to use the few examples we have seen in the news and media to define the rest,” says Maclean.