By Kelsey Braun and Morgan Berube
Do you know what ISIS is? Well, Current Events and Social Studies teacher Tom Bennett shed some light on this new threat called ISIS, which stands for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He explained how ISIS has been taking over territory and killing people all over the Middle East. According to Mr. Bennett, ISIS started as a small group associated with Al-Qaeda, but due to the violent, intolerant behavior that this extremist group has demonstrated, even Al-Qaeda, the group responsible for the 9/11 tragedy, has denounced any allegiance with them.
The goals of ISIS are to create a caliphate, or an Islamic Empire throughout the Middle East, according to Mr. Bennett. “They seem to be a group that is incredibly intolerant of anybody who has a different understanding of religion, of politics, [and] they have killed countless numbers of people in some fairly brutal ways,”he said. One of the ways that they have demonstrated this is the public beheading of American reporters Steven Sotloff and James Foley, and British reporter Daniel Pearl. “They definitely have committed war crimes,” Mr. Bennett said.
Why should JDHS students care about what is happening to people half a world away? Mr. Bennett explains that it is important for Americans to stay involved with news from Iraq so they can figure out what ISIS is planning to do, and how our government can prevent possible terrorist attacks. JD students are affected by this crisis in many ways. “I think (J-DHS) students should be very concerned about a group that is as intolerant and as violent as ISIS is,” says Mr. Bennett; “they are a real threat to the security of the world.” Social media and major propaganda campaigns have been making ISIS look glamorous to people who don't know what’s really going on in the Middle East. “One of the things we are worried about is that ISIS is recruiting people from all over the world (through these programs),” says Mr. Bennett. According to President Obama, America’s goal is to eliminate the threat that this organization poses before anymore harm is done.
It is not just Americans who need to realize that ISIS could take control over other places, Mr. Bennett says, “They are a group of murderous thugs,” but they are much less powerful than people think because they can convince people that they are capable of doing whatever they want. Even though the US is taking the lead in this war, we are trying to get other Middle Eastern countries to come out and help defeat ISIS because it is not just a terrorist threat against the western world, it starts at home in the Middle East.