Sunday, August 17, 2014

Are people misled by propaganda about ISIS?

In times of war and troubles, truth is one of the first casualties. As we have seen many times before  with Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and other troubling places in the world, so is the case with ISIL or ISIS, or so it seems. From published reports, I have not found anything to show that there is anything good about this extremist group. My opinion about their evil prowess has not changed. If published reports are true they are monsters who have no respect for Islam and are abusing the name to create hatred towards the faith of a billion and six hundred million Muslims.

The group first emerged amongst the Sunnis as a resistance movement against American occupation forces in Iraq. Later the local Sunnis had enough of their brand of extremism and were able to throw them out. Unfortunately, with Nuri al-Maliki's sectarian rule in Iraq which marginalized the Sunnis, the group resurrected from the ashes of Anbar under a new battle-hardened leadership in Syria. They have been able to gravitate many disgruntled Sunnis to fight Maliki's Iraqi forces and in so doing are allegedly committing horrendous crimes. Unlike Judaism and Christianity, there is no place in Islam for killing unarmed non-believers, and yet ISIS is accused of such brutality. They are accused of demolishing Shia mosques and shrines.

They are even presented as child killers. How true are such claims about ISIS? 

The source of the claim comes from Mark Arabo in an interview with CNN. Arabo says that ISIS is “systematically beheading children” and that “there is a park in Mosul in which heads of beheaded children are put on a stick.” Arabo has been instrumental in promoting House Resolution 663, a resolution that expresses an “urgent need to protect religious minorities from persecution.” Fueling the speculation has been websites, like Catholic Online, that purport to have pictures of children beheaded by ISIS.

One of the pictures that Catholic Online includes — and that has become ubiquitous on social media — shows a baby with three rifles pointed at his head. While the image is outrageous, it was not a photo taken of ISIS in northern Iraq.

The photo originally appeared online April 11, 2014 on the Facebook page of a person from Yemen. Numerous people on that page attest that the clothes the child is wearing are obviously Yemeni. A few days later, though, the image started popping up on pro-Syrian Army websites claiming that it was an Armenian child who was taken by Syrian rebels. Whatever the original context for the photo, we know based on the date alone that it was not recently taken in Mosul or northern Iraq.

You can find out the real truth about this story circulated in the popular media by clicking here.

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