The Unspeakable Horror of ISIS

IED_Controlled_Explosion (1)The video of Alan Henning’s beheading, released by ISIS over the weekend, spelled his name incorrectly: the video labels Mr. Henning as “Allen.” As if his execution wasn’t enough of a blow to his dignity, the terrorists who murdered Alan didn’t even give him the respect to spell his name correctly.

What is most shocking about Mr. Henning’s execution video – although every aspect of it is repulsive and dehumanizing – is that it is not the first of its kind. Other aid workers have also been publicly executed by the militant Islamic State. Last month we were having the same discussion about the threat ISIS posed after the release of David Haines’ execution video. How many more videos will the world see before ISIS is stopped?

The BBC reported the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, as saying Britain will do all it can “to hunt down these murderers and bring them to justice.” US President, Barack Obama, called the event “a brutal murder” and “a great loss” to the Syrian community Henning was aiding. Hopefully, international governments will begin to take action against ISIS, so the world never has to read about or watch another horrific execution video again

Alan Henning was a taxi driver from Salford, England participating in his fourth aid trip to Syria when he was kidnapped. He was 47 years old and a father of two when he landed in Syria last December, only to be seized within minutes of his arrival. His wife, Barbara, pleaded for his freedom after ISIS announced they would kill Henning last month in the execution video of David Haines. In Henning’s execution video, the American aid worker, Peter Kassig, is threatened. The American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, have also been beheaded. ISIS is systematically killing their hostages every month, and telling the world who their next victim will be.

The death of Alan Henning was prompted by the British parliamentary decision to engage in airstrikes against the Islamic State. The militant who executed Henning has a seemingly British accent. From the motive to the nationality of victim and murderer, ISIS has staged the execution. According to the British MP, Khalid Mahmood, there are approximately 1,500 British Muslims fighting for ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In June, three ISIS members were identified as students of Cardiff University, two were twenty years old, and one was only seventeen. It’s terrifying to think that some of the ISIS members are not much older than St. Luke’s students.

American authorities have estimated that there are about 100 US citizens fighting with ISIS, but that there may be a much larger number. Some have even returned to the US after fighting with ISI
S, and, according to the FBI, are being watched very closely. The presence of British and American citizens in ISIS represents the internationality of the Syrian conflict. ISIS is composed of different ages and nationalities, but one demonized, jihadist ideal.

ISIS is a serious threat. They have killed innocent people, and they are threatening to kill more innocent people. I ardently hope this is the last article I write about execution videos, but I also know that’s a hope ungrounded in reality.

–Megan Evershed, World News Editor

Posted by on October 8, 2014. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry