On Friday, Islamic State committed its latest genocidal act, an attack on Shi’ite Muslims during Friday prayers at the Zaman mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan. “It keeps happening,” said one worshiper to reporters. Last month ISIS warned Shi’ites throughout Afghanistan they would step up the genocidal pogroms against them. They struck a mosque in Herat on August 1. In June ISIS attacked the al-Zahra mosque in Kabul as Shi’ites were ending the Ramadan fast.
In February ISIS attacked the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalander in Sehran, Pakistan, aiming to murder Sufi Muslims. In October 2016 Shi’ites were targeted in northern Afghanistan during the festival of Ashura in Balkh province. In Iraq a Yazidi man posted photos of his house that ISIS destroyed and which was recently liberated by Iraqi security forces.
Throughout the world ISIS and its fellow Islamist travelers are engaging in unprecedented acts of genocide against minorities. In many cases ISIS is made up not only of locals but of a global alliance of bigots who believe in religion-based genocide of minorities whom they call “kuffar” or “unbelievers.”
It is 2017. One hundred years ago more than half the known world was colonized by Europe, and Europe was sunk deep in the mud of the trenches of the First World War. Consider the effects of that war. It led to the rise of Communism in Russia and the industrialization of mass murder based on economics and class. Concomitant with that was the rise of fascism and Nazism, a response to the poverty, chaos and uncertainty after the Treaty of Versailles ended the Great War. The Nazis sought to subject the world to industrialized genocide based on race and ethnicity. Together the Soviets and the Nazis wanted to reorder the world.
Both failed, but not before at least 100 million people had been murdered. We can still get a glimpse into those dark ages in places like North Korea. The 20th century, which was supposed to usher in promise because of the rise of suffrage and rights, actually ended up using the new industrial methods for mass killing. It didn’t make human life better, it sought to use new ideas and mass media to destroy and enslave. Overall the century trended toward freedom at its end, with the rise of democracy and free markets. But nature abhors a vacuum and at the turn of the century there was a vacuum of evil. Humans are evidently incapable of living in peace and prosperity.
It bores them and leaves them feeling empty. The March 2001 destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Islamist Taliban was a fitting beginning to the 21st century. The beautiful 50-meter carving was the largest standing Buddha at the time and had stood for almost 1,500 years. In just moments a new version of Nazism blew it up. Just as the Nazis had destroyed 1,500 years of European Jewish history, the Islamists in Afghanistan sought to erase everything that was not in line with their supremacist way of thinking.
The world shrugged its shoulders at the destruction of March 2001. Then in September 2001 when the same Islamists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, suddenly the leading power in the world decided to take them seriously. Fast-forward to 2014 when ISIS was rising in Syria and once again Europe and the US stood silent as ISIS carried out the systematic mass murder of 1,566 Shi’ites cadets at Camp Speicher in Iraq. It was on video, distributed worldwide. Then ISIS committed genocide against the Yazidi people, separating men and women, like at Auschwitz, and selling the women into mass rape and executing the men.
While US president Barack Obama did launch airstrikes to stem the tide of ISIS and worked to form a coalition against the extremists, for 15,000 Yazidis it was too late – murdered, raped and their homes and shrines destroyed. Hundreds of thousands fled an unprecedented ethnic cleansing in Iraq that destroyed the mosaic of minorities in Sinjar and the Nineveh plains. Christian monasteries in use since the 5th century were destroyed.
On August, 26 half a million people in Spain marched against the terrorist attacks that Barcelona faced recently.
Isn’t that heroic of them? Wouldn’t it have been more heroic if half a million Spaniards had gone to defend Yazidis against genocide in 2014? Where do you think ISIS attacks in Europe come from? They are directly linked to the lack of willingness of European governments to prevent 5,000 of their citizens from joining ISIS. Everyone learns about globalization these days, as they have since the aptly titled Jihad vs. McWorld was published in 1995. Yet, no one seems to understand that Islamist genocidal terrorism is the central beneficiary of 21st century globalization.
Just as Nazism and Soviet Communism were enabled in their evil through new methods of mass communication, weapons and science, Islamism has been enabled through the Internet and globalization. From Algeria to Chechnya to Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Syria, Iraq, Bosnia and other recent Islamist conflicts, foreign Islamist fighters have become a staple. Look at the biographies of every ISIS-inspired attack in Europe in the past few years. Every perpetrator has connections and travel patterns that are global.
The Manchester bomber met with handlers in Libya.
The Berlin attacker had been in Italy. The Paris attacker had planned to target Brussels. The globalized world of Islamism views the world as divided into their Aryan world of “believers” and the “kuffar” or sub-human “non-believers.”
To understand how deep and accepted the views of Islamism have permeated, consider the lack of remorse shown by ISIS foreign volunteers who went to Syria and Iraq to rape, murder and commit genocide. Western media tends to depict them as surprised at the privation they faced – but not surprised by the mass slaughter of minorities. There is not one ISIS member who went to Iraq and says, “I was surprised to find that men were selling and raping women.” No. Islamist worldview is a tempting ideology because it promises men the right to murder and rape and see themselves as superior to most of the world. There are tens of thousands of men who have grown up in Europe who, when they hear a Shi’ites mosque has been bombed in Afghanistan, celebrate.
They see bloodied, dying people and they smile.
Just as Europe was an incubator of Nazism and Soviet Communism, Europe has become the main exporter and incubator of Islamist extremism. While Muslim countries have sought to tackle radicalization, European states have allowed it to grow unfettered and unchallenged. Hiding behind “human rights” and “free speech” allows the most extreme preachers to spread their views throughout the world from the comfort of a couch in most European capital cities.
It’s only 2017 and already tens of thousands of minorities have been murdered in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Whole communities of Syriac, Assyrian and Coptic Christians have been slaughtered. Hundreds of thousands of members of ancient religions, such as Yazidis, have been murdered. Indigenous minorities such as Kurds have been targeted. Ahmadis, Shi’ites and Sufis have been bombed in their mosques and shrines.
Manuscripts in Timbuktu, archeological sites that stood for 2,000 years in Syria and Iraq, tombs and monasteries and Buddhas have been blasted from the face of the earth by this ideology. In just 17 years we have seen 2,000 years of history disappeared. Rarely in history have so many world heritage sites been destroyed at such a rate and never before on such a global scale.
Pause and consider that. That is the 21st century.
The 21st century will be the century of religious genocide. The 20th century saw economic and ethnic genocide. Our century will see the unprecedented “cleansing” of people based on religion. Of course you can point to the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Thirty Years War, the forced conversion of Iran to Shi’ite Islam under the Safavids as similar religious-genocidal events.
But they are all localized in extent and horror. The whole world today is threatened by this new genocide.
It’s not because of poverty; it is particularly connected to globalization and wealth. Most Islamist mass-murderers are middle class and their ideology is based on desire for decadence, rape and murder. Just ask the Hazzaras of Afghanistan. They are the poorer minorities there. Osama bin-Laden and his ilk were wealthy men.
Yazidis were poor while the ISIS members from Europe who came to murder and purchase their women were wealthy.
Unlike the Nazis or Soviets ISIS doesn’t use modern methods and rarely harnesses state power to carry out its atrocities. But as we learned in Rwanda in the 1990s, you don’t need modern methods to kill large numbers of people. Our challenge this century is to ask how do we stop men who grow up with chauvinism, with hatred and guided by religious supremacist thinking, from taking a knife and stabbing people. Unfortunately there may be no easy answer, just like asking someone in 1917, “How will we stop Soviet Communism and Nazism?” Follow the author @Sfrantzman.