ISIS’s crimes and its brutal atrocities, which are all committed in the name of Islam, have yet again recently found their way to the headlines with two new titles. In the first news release from Afghanistan, ISIS committed the crime of killing a group of worshippers while performing their Friday prayer last week at a mosque in the city of Kunduz, in the north of the country. The second news release was the declaration by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi of arresting Sami Salim al-Juburi, ISIS’s official in charge of its financial affairs who is also the deputy of the organization’s founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and a figure close to the current leader Abdullah Qardash. Both pieces of news are a shock to anyone who thought that it was all over with that organization after crushing its battalions, finishing off its remnants that were positioned in and around the city of Mosul, and then eliminating the entity itself of the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”
ISIS leaders have been claiming that they are willing to bring back to the Muslims their medieval Caliphate ruling system, and to implement the rules and regulations of Islamic jurisprudence. However, their actions proved that their main concern is to eliminate anyone or side that rejects their own Islamist methodology, starting with the Islamic world itself. They also aim at inciting fear and terror among non-Muslims across the entire globe by the mere mention of the word “Islam,” succeeding in stirring anxiety towards anyone and everything that belongs to Islam and giving momentum to renewed waves of so-called Islamophobia. Racists worldwide have also exploited that momentum even in societies that have been always well known for their pacific nature, as in New Zealand, where its people were astonished to find one of their own who hates Muslims only for being Muslims. Such stories represent part of the outcome of ISIS’s horrifying deeds, an outcome that apparently will prevail for a considerable period.
In the same vein, there is also a humanitarian outcome of the tragedy generated by ISIS; and it is important here to adopt an objective point of view that distinguishes between the high necessity of finishing off the criminal gangs of ISIS, and the need to consider the conditions of those helpless people left behind by the organization’s leaders and affiliates at various battlefields, particularly in refugee camps in Syria and Iraq. The case here has to do with mothers and children who are going through an identity crisis, and are suffering from diseases, hunger, thirst, dispersed family members, lack of emotional support, and lack of hope in a better future. The harsh winter is also not far away, which will add to their suffering.
The question here is what should impede us from stretching a benevolent hand to ISIS’s orphans and their mothers to help them rehabilitate so they may proceed with their lives with the least possible psychological trauma? They were unwillingly forced to go through these terrible experiences under ISIS.
It might be an easy option to confine the responsibility of caring for this segment to international organizations, and that might be right so. However, is it not valid to state that there are several charity organizations in the Islamic world that are mostly – and probably entirely – government-sponsored, and that can also perform their role in this direction? Of course, it is valid to assume this, and to even raise the bar of expectations and affirm that Islamic charity organizations are actually obliged by their duty not to stand still in front of the suffering of criminal ISIS’s families. It would suffice to aid this segment if only for the sake of protecting ISIS’s children from turning into hatred-incited timebombs whose main concern is to take revenge from those who left them neglected with a state of mind that cries: “Why should I be held accountable for the crimes of my father?”
It is worth mentioning that, through my appeal, I do not plea for a positive response to cases where some women - such as Shamima Begum - who have been lured into joining ISIS and are now demanding their return to the UK. This is a matter specific to each sovereign state to deal with it according to its own security considerations, which it can better decide upon. At any rate, some countries like Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Belgium accepted to repatriate some mothers and their children from their refugee camps who hold the citizenships of these states.
I am calling for a collective mass work on handling all the tragic outcomes of that criminal organization’s actions and their devastating psychological effect on countless people, which necessitates the establishment of state-of-the-art psychic rehabilitation centers to heal the numerous victims wherever they are, including the orphaned children, the widowed mothers, as well as the parents who were bereaved by the loss of a loved one.
To sum up, the effect of ISIS’s crimes will last long, and it will not be easy to erase as long as the outcome of the organization’s anti-Islamic and anti-human rights atrocities are apparent to all, in direct contrast to what that organization claims to be and to its faulty foundations. Hence, the noble mission of erasing ISIS’s legacy is human in general, and Islamic in particular.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.