Public executions, crucifixions and many more acts of violence are taking place in Iraq and Syria and the surrounding borders as a result of an Islamic group known as ISIS.
ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has gained power after becoming officially separated from Al-Qaeda in February, 2014.
Reza Hamzaee, MWSU professor of economics, says he has been in the United States for 40 years, but is originally from Iran and spent 23 years there. He explains the events of ISIS andf how it began.
“ISIS was basically a part of Al-Qaeda and they divorced a few months ago on February, 2014,” Hamzaee said. “There was, for the first time, one of the team members who disobeyed the leader of Al-Qaeda from an order that he gave them to stay away from a certain part of Syria that they are really focusing and existing.”
After the split from Al-Qaeda happened, Hamzaee explained the group is fighting for fans and followers to recruit in order to bring around this ideological purpose they have.
Hamzaee says the group of ISIS wants to establish a Caliphate. A Caliphate is a form of government that has a religious leader who is also the leader of their government.
Ali Kamali, MWSU professor of Sociology, describes the purpose of this group and what they hope to bring to the country and state of Islam.
“When the Prophet Mohammad died, he did not appoint any successor and he had many companions who were very close to him,” Kamali said. “AS a result after his death, the community decided to appoint one of his companions, who was also an Elder of the council, and who happens to be the prophet’s son-in-law.”
Kamali says by doing this, the community followed the tradition. This tradition in Arabic terms means Sunna, and that brings the term Sunni Muslim, which is the branch of Islam ISIS is under.
The second branch of Islam, who are fighting against ISIS, are the Shia. The Shia believes the successor to the prophet should follow the blood line, like a dynasty. They believe the prophet’s son-in-law should be the rightful successor to the prophet.
Hamzaee says without these two branches of Islam, the war and acts of terrorism would not be as powerful or frequent.
“The conflict between the Iraqi Sunni and the Shia is the main reason ISIS does exists and sustain,” Hamzaee said.
The reason the conflict began is being blamed on President Barrack Obama by many Muslims, says Hamzaee.
“Many blame Obama, many think that he had to send more support at the right time before this group, starting February 2014, got much power,” Hamzaee said. “They feel [America] didn’t support them enough at the time that they could change things.”
Whether or not America should send more troops is another conflict entirely, especially here in the United States.
“I believe that Obama has done a good job to mobilize the world and to make it easy for everybody to understand why this is not an American fight, it is their fight,” Hamzaee said. “And then, indirectly, it is more Europe’s than anyone else’s because they are neighboring those countries.”
Students on campus are also sharing their thoughts on whether or not America should become more involved in the conflict of ISIS.
Jamil Velasquez, an exchange student from Honduras, doesn’t feel America or any country should get involved in a military way.
“I think the United States is the one called to push the United Nations to get involved in a humanitarian way in Iraq and Syria, but never in a military way,” Velasquez said.
Another exchange student, from Saudi Arabia Nasser Alsowayigh, describes his thoughts on getting the U.S. involved and how the conflict has affected him personally.
“I think they are doing it the wrong way, because the violent act they make it that as a Muslim guy, I don’t believe in that,” Alsowayigh said.
The conflict also has a personal effect on Alsowayigh and the image it gives about Muslim people. He says he hates ISIS because they spread the wrong message about Muslims.
“People around the world, they don’t know about Islam. They think all Muslim people is like their violent, their terrorists, they’re trying to rule the world by forcing people. That is how it is affecting me,” Alsowayigh said.
Velasquez confirms this idea people are getting about the Muslim people. He says they spoke in a class about ISIS, and most students felt all Muslims were a part of the terrorism and violence.
“A lot of people are getting the Muslim religion acquainted with the terrorism that’s going on,” Velasquez said. “This is a perfect example of everything that is going wrong in the world. It’s not just about Muslim or Islam, it’s about radical ideas.”
The effect of ISIS and the conflict of whether America should or should not get involved, goes beyond the classroom and Missouri Western.
Professor Kamali explains his views on the overall lasting effects of the war.
“We as a country certainly have a lot of invested interest in the region in the sense that many of our businesses are in the region. So, what happens to them will have an indirect effect on us,” Kamali said.
Kamali says it may affect oil prices in the long run because ISIS gains it’s funding from stealing oil barrels and selling them to the black market.
But even with all the violence and terrorism, Kamali says he is not certain sending troops over will fix the problem.
“We spent I don’t know how many dollars in the past 10 years in two countries and trying to stabilize the region. Then as soon as we move out of there, these things happen. So, I’m not sure if there’s an end to this,” Kamali said.
ISIS is a conflict that cannot be stopped easily or quickly, and whether it’s indirectly or directly, people all around the world are feeling the effects of the outbursts of terrorism and violence.