ISIS and "The Blessed Ban"
The New York Times' ISIS reporter Rukmini Callimachi is stationed in Eastern Mosul in Iraq. The Iraqi army recently liberated the eastern part of the city, while ISIS maintains its hold on the west. The two armies are currently separated by the Tigris River.
The Iraqi army is driving ISIS out of major cities with the help of the United States, Russia, and other nations. A US-led coalition reportedly killed top ISIS figure Rachid Kassim within the past 72 hours, according to The Pentagon. Things are looking up for--what seems to be--the first time in the fight against the extremist group.
While this is a great step towards the defeat of ISIS, Callimachi is reporting that ISIS is using President Trump's recent ban of seven primarily Muslim nations as firepower.
On February 8th, Callimachi (@rcallimachi) tweeted out to her followers:
8. The resident said ISIS has been openly celebrating the ban. They've even coined a phrase for it: الحظر المبارك Or "The Blessed Ban"
This is troublesome because the extremist group is using this temporary ban as fuel to light their fire. They market it in a way that makes it seem like Americans hate Muslims. To the uninformed, uneducated minds of many in the direct path of ISIS, this might make sense.
It is terrifying to learn that ISIS is using the travel ban as a propaganda technique to undermine our values and efforts to bring peace to that area of the world.
I firmly believe in making sure those who want to come to this country come in for the right reasons. I do not agree with the president's original executive order because I feel as though there should be a system put in place better than banning all travel from select countries. It is undeniable that the countries that were on the original ban have their fair share of problems with terrorism at home. What is deniable is that every single person trying to get into our country from those places are evil.
Although the ban was only actually instituted for a day or so before being blocked by federal judges, partially due to the tremendous uptick in protests around the country, ISIS can still use this as propaganda. The travel ban shows an ugly side of American policy. It can be argued that policy was discriminatory against those of Muslim faith.
Taking a step back in time, Callimachi talked about how the current ban reminded her of what former the spiritual leader of ISIS, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, once said about the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He welcomed it with open arms and called it "The Blessed Invasion". Zarqawi used the invasion of Iraq as a propaganda technique, instilling fear that America was coming to end Islam.
The similarities between the two situations are eerily similar. In retrospect, it is clear that the Iraq War was a mistake and the information used to justify the invasion was based largely off of an informant who should not have been trusted. For those who don't know or don't remember, this informant's name was actually "Curveball" and he was a confirmed pedophile.
While this is still troubling information, the Iraq War is a thing of the past. However, we need to learn from our past mistakes. The new immigration policy should never have been instituted in the first place. The American public wants transparency in plans regarding immigration. I want to know exactly what steps we are taking to make sure that we are giving those with good intentions an equal opportunity to come and help lift our country up, not tear us down. Banning a whole group of people based off of where they live is insensitive and down right not practical.
To quote the New Colossus, engraved on a bronze plaque on the Statue of Liberty:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”