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ISIS: Islam on Display

The journalist looks up to the sky as the blindfold is removed. He is awaiting his
imminent death. He is on his knees; hot, clay-colored sand surrounds him. The abyss of sand

Commented [D1]: knees, with the hot, clay-colored sand

surrounding him.

reflects the harsh rays of the sun, emitting heat. His mouth is dry , he hasnt been fed in days, and

Commented [D2]: harsh, scorching. (Omit emitting heat)

has not had water in hours. His mouth is cracked and dry. The orange jumpsuit like that of a

Commented [D3]: His mouth is cracked and dry from hours

without water; his stomach crying from starvation.
Commented [D4]: Omit. Not needed.

prisoners reflects his state of being, He longs for his family, his wife and his daughter. He will

Commented [D5]: He longs for his family: his beloved wife and
his beautiful daughter.

never see them again. He sobs as he is trying to make peace with this reality that hits him like a
freight train. He imagines his daughter going off to college. He sees her as she walks down the
aisle at her wedding. And lastly he pictures his grandchildren, cared for by their lovely mother,
and his beloved daughter. He will never see his grandchildren. Whack! His shoulder burns from

Commented [D6]: He pictures his grandchildren,

the impact of the rifle. He is not sure if it is broken. The hit brought him down, face in the sand,
hands on his head, crumbled and submissive. He is quickly yanked up by loud men in dark robes,
covered from head to toe. They yell in a language he cant understand pull him back up and
make him sit with his back straight, still on his knees. They start talking to a camera that he
notices has been placed a few feet in front of him. The speech is several minutes long, but feels
like a few moments to the journalist because he knows what is coming. He had written about it,
and he knows that he is going to die. As soon as the speech is over he feels a hand shove his head
down, but only his head. His neck is exposed. The sawing starts. He lets out a writhing scream,
the last noise he will ever make. Then it is over. His life has come to an end. Very quickly, his
head is decapitated and removed from his limp, bleeding body. The ISIS militants hold it up to
the camera for the world to see.

Commented [D7]: Passage is very wordy. Try to get to the point

a little faster. All of the details arent necessary.

I hope after reading that, that your stomach is churning and you are saddened, maybe you
even shed a few tears. But my point is not merely to make you cry, to make you sad, or ruin your
day. I want to make a point. ISIS is dangerous, ISIS is ruthless, and ISIS must be stopped. But
how do we stop them? How do you cure a respiratory infection when you have it? Do you get
Kleenex? Do you take cold medicine? Im sure you do. These things help with the symptoms.
The Kleenex helps with the runny nose. The medicine may help with the fever, and possibly
even the cough and congestion. However, these things are not the cure. If you want to get better,
you have to go to the source of the problem. The source of the infection must be taken care of.
Targeting the cause rather than then the results. You take antibiotics to deal with the infection.
You go to the source causing the problem. You wipe out the infection and the fever goes away.

Commented [D8]: Redundant.

There is no more runny nose, and no more cough. That is what must be done with ISIS. We need
to examine what makes them tick and what makes them do what they do. A lot of people,
perhaps the majority in the western hemisphere would say that they want political gains. To
destroy the western world, and that Islam is a very small factor, if it is a factor at all. ISIS on the
other hand is very adamant that they are doing what they are called to do, as stated in the Koran
and other Islamic texts that make up the religion. Lets examine this; if Islam is just a label they
use, or if it is something more. This question is of the utmost importance to answer.
To get an idea of whether or not ISIS is representative of Islam, we must first look at the
Islamic faith. Examining the Quran seems like a pretty good place to start. It is essentially the
guide for Islam. It is the basis for the faith. Without the Quran there is not a Muslim. Just like if
there were no blue-prints for a building, there would be no building. In order to examine the
scriptures, we need to understand how the Quran and other Islamic scriptures are meant to be
read. First off, the Quran is supposed to be the word of Allah, the Muslim god. Allah according

Commented [D9]: This as in what?

to the Muslim scriptures is known to be a perfect being which is incapable of contradicting

himself. Because the Quran is the word of Allah, the scripture must also be perfect and therefore,
unable to contradict itself. Verses in the Quran says that it is not up for interpretation, but that it
must simply be taken as what it is. Such examples include: Chapter 6, verse 115 Shall I seek for
judge other than Allah when he it is who has sent down the book to you clearly explained.
Chapter 11, verse 2 This is a book who verses have been made unchangeable and have been
expounded in detail. (Quran chapters 6,11) This strict rule of no interpretation is what the
individuals in ISIS basis their beliefs around. This means that whatever the Quran commands to
do, must be done. There is no room for a Muslim to either question the words of Allah, to
disobey them, or to take them in a way that they would like. No matter how they feel about them,

Commented [D10]: Wording is a little confusing. Reword to


they must take them as the words of a supreme god that must be followed. This idea of strict
readings of the Quran and other Muslim scriptures is what is typically found in the sect of Sunni
Muslims. They are the faction that make up ISIS. Sunnis are typically thought to be the more
traditional sect of Islam. On the other hand, Shiites believe in innovation of the Quran, forward
thinking in order to make it fit into the context of the circumstances of the present. This stance is
seen by Sunnis as being dishonoring to Allah, and is not to be tolerated. This leads to the
perpetrator being considered an apostate. According to The Atlantic, a newspaper who has been
around for over a hundred years, an apostate is someone who denies the holiness of the Quran or
who renounces the holiness of the words and prophesies of Muhammed. (What ISIS Really
Wants) being considered an apostate is grounds for punishment, and often times killing of
someone who dishonors Allah in a brash act against him. This can be seen closely relatable to
sin, which is supposed to be forgiven by brothers of the faith. (What ISIS Really Wants) So now

Commented [D11]: Fix in-text citations throughout.

that we have the basis for how to interpret the scriptures and how they are supposed to be
perceived, lets see what is in the Quran.
I would like to address the side that would say ISIS is not representative of Islam. That
they are radical Muslims who are not representative of the faith and are despicable. That they are
the reasons that Muslims have a bad rep in the western media, and that they make all people who
practice Islam seem violent and like terrorists. First I would like to say that the statement that all
Muslims are violent is ridiculous. This is obviously false. I know people who are Muslims. Some
are in my classes. They are by no means violent people. They do not commit acts of terrorism,
neither should they be discriminated against. These are some of the same people who would say
that Islam is a peaceful religion, that ISIS is horrible and does not represent what they know to
be true of their religion. I know that the majority of Muslims who are not a part of a terrorist
group are not violent or committing acts of terror. They would point to ISIS and say that at best
they could be considered radical Muslims, and at the other end, they would not be considered
Muslims at all because the things that they do are violent and harm others. Things which they
themselves do not do, or other Muslims that they know do not do. They will cite scripture in the
Koran that says to kill one innocent person is to kill every innocent person. If anyone slays a
person, it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if
he saved the life of the whole people. (Quran Chapter 5, verse 23) These points that are made
by these Muslims are valid. Most of the Muslim population is not violent, with only a small
percentage being parts of groups that commits acts of terror, or other acts of violence. This is
supported by the evidence that there are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and
ISIS as well as other Islamic terrorist groups are small in number when comparing to that of 1.6

Commented [D12]: Fragment

billion. (Pew Research Center) However, I do not believe that this discredits ISIS as being
unfounded in what they do, when looking at the Islamic texts.
When you look at the texts of the Quran, you will see both violent verses where Muslims
are told to kill the non-believers, or brothers that turn from the faith. Chapter 8, verse 12 "I will

Commented [D13]: Confusing, I dont understand what this


cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off
every fingertip of them" (Quran) You will also see verses that say to be peaceful with the non-

Commented [D14]: Add punctuation accordingly.

believer and to show them mercy. As already stated, the Koran cannot contradict itself, else the
Islamic faith crumbles upon itself. Therefore, these verses must coincide somehow. I would
provide the option that by looking at these verses in the context of Jihad, they fit together in
harmony. David Wood, a Christian Apologist who has degrees in philosophy and biology, and is
pursuing a Ph.D in Philosophy of Religion gives the stages of Jihad. First, As a Muslim, be
peaceful with both your brothers and the non-believers when you are outnumbered by them.
Secondly, have a defensive jihad when you have the ability to fight. Mercy can still be shown.

Commented [D15]: Is jihad supposed to be capitalized. It is in

other sections.

Lastly, when you have the greater numbers and have the ability, subjugate and kill the nonbelievers who will not convert. (Is ISIS Islamic?) One of the most prominent figures in Islam is
Muhammed. He is the one that Muslims are supposed to follow the example of. When trying to
see what a good Muslim looks like, you look at him. When examining Muhammed, and the
contexts of when he said and did certain things, you see this pattern and template for jihad. In
some parts of the Quran, Muhammed when he is outnumbered and has a small following, is
peaceful with the non-believer. When he gains followers and has the ability to, he subjugates and
kills the non-believers. Whatever stage a Muslim finds himself in determines what they are
supposed to do, guided by the Quran, and the example of Muhammed. This idea of looking at the
scriptures according to the context of the current stage of Jihad allows the verses that seem to

Commented [D16]: Comma splicing

conflict with one another, fit together. In this way the book is holy and perfect, and the words of
Allah are not contradicting with one another, and remain in perfect unity. So what does this
mean? For one it means that Muslims in different parts of the world are called to do different
things and to act in different ways. A Muslim who stands alone, who is outnumbered is supposed

Commented [D17]: Add comma

to be peaceful. They are to treat others with mercy, and to be kind to the non-believer. Muslims

Commented [D18]: *And are to

who find themselves in the position of opportunity to take over by force are called to do that.
This is ISIS. They have seen an opportunity and have decided to fulfill the duties found in the
Koran. They are gaining more and more ground and more and more territory. They are ruthless.

Commented [D19]: Koran? Or Quran?

Killing the non-believers and apostates alike. They have also gotten a Kalif. This is supposed to
be a chosen leader of the Muslims and represent the Islamic faith. (What ISIS Really Wants)
This process is not an easy one, and is also on that is required by the Muslim scriptures when
waging a lasting Jihad. ISIS is not merely taking land and gaining territories in disregard for
what the Quran and other Islamic texts say, they are actually following them very carefully. This
is huge in arguing the case that they are Islamic. If they were merely trying to use Islam as a
cover for their true motives, or if they were not actually following what the Quran says to do,
then why are they actually doing it? Its simple. They are following what the Quran says.
In addition to them being true to doing what the scriptures tell them to do, I would also
like to point out some interesting numbers, and to make an interesting observation. The Pew
Research Center, a world-renowned and often cited source for statistics, did surveys regarding
Sharia Law and other things that relateas to it. They surveyed Muslims in multiple countries,

Commented [D20]: Relates

asking them multiple questions. When asked if they supported killing those who left the Islamic
faith, 79 percent of those who answered in Afghanistan said they did. 76 percent in Pakistan, 86
in Egypt, 82 percent in Jordan, and 66 percent in Palestine territory. Eleven out of the twenty

Commented [D21]: Numbers under 100 should be spelled out.

countries in which the survey took place had at least a fourth of the Muslim population say that
they supported those who left the Islamic faith being killed for it. (Muslim Beliefs About Sharia)
As you see, not all Muslims are opposed to some of the same actions that ISIS is doing. What I
am about to say is going to be very abrasive. I want to preface it with explaining that I am not
saying that Muslims in the western hemisphere are liars, That they are hypocrites, that they
deserve to be punished in any way or even that they should fall victim to discrimination based on
their religion. I do not endorse any of these things. However, I would like to point out that if we
look at it through the context of the Koran in reference to Jihad, then we would think that the
Muslims here who are greatly outnumbered, would be doing exactly what they are supposed to
be doing. According to the Huffington Post, only one percent of the United States population is
Muslim. (Americans Think The Countrys Muslim Population Is Bigger Than It Really IS)
These Muslims are being peaceful with the non-believers who surround them. Again I am not
trying to say that Muslims in the United States, or anywhere for that matter are liars and that they
are saying that ISIS is not representative of the Islamic faith because they are in a different stage
of Jihad from their brothers over-seas. I am not saying this at all. However, I feel that this is a
logical explanation and I would be remised in not pointing this out to the reader.
In conclusion, ISIS and what makes ISIS tick is important because of what they are
doing. That public opinion does not necessarily mean that ISIS is unfounded in the texts for
doing what they do, but would actually say the opposite. I hope you see that looking at the Quran
in perspective does not change the meaning of the verses but merely puts them into accordance
with one another so that they do not conflict with one another. That when you do this, you see
that verses make sense, and that ISIS seems to be doing just what it is supposed to be doing in
reference with the Muslim texts. I would like to again add that opinion polls in African and

Commented [D22]: The to the

Middle-eastern countries shows support for doing some of the same actions that ISIS is taking
part of. That Muslims in the western world would be justified in reference in the stage of Jihad in
not publicly supporting ISIS.

Commented [D23]: I really appreciate your writing. It is very

factual and consistent. I feel that you are a bit wordy, and that you
get a little comma happy. If you can express all that you want to
express without being too wordy, change a few things. Maybe find
other words for Muslim? It was used a lot, and Im sure there are
other names to call them. Thank you for acknowledging that there
are others in the world doing was ISIS is doing. Stay open minded
while writing the opposition. Its effective in writing a strong
rebuttal. Good job Conrad.

Works Cited
Ali, Maulawi. The Holy Quran. Tilford, UK: Islam International Publications Ltd.
2004. Print

Graeme Wood. What ISIS Really Wants. The Atlantic. March 2015. Web news article.
February 26 2015. <>

"World's Muslim Population More Widespread than You Might Think." Pew Research Center RSS. 6 June
2013. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <>

"Debate: Is ISIS Islamic? David Wood (Christian) vs. Osama Abdallah (Muslim)." YouTube. YouTube, 24
Dec. 2014. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <>

Pew Research Center The Worlds Muslims: Religion, Politics, and Society. Pew Research
Center April 30 2013. Web article. March 2 2015 <>

"World's Muslim Population More Widespread than You Might Think." Pew Research Center RSS. 6 June
2013. Web. 2 Apr. 2015. <>