There is an instinctually genocidal group plaguing Iraq and Syria. These terrorists have become notorious for beheading civilians and aid workers, and more recently for the murder of the Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who they burned alive. Unlike other acts of terror their actions are complex, motivated by underlying intentions. These perpetrators of terror are known by many names, such as ISIS, Islamic State in Iraq, ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. But no name displays their radical ideology better than their self-declared name IS, or the Islamic State. The title Islamic State quantifies their genocidal intentions. The actions the world has witnessed are atrocities on humankind and a natural part of the ideology of ISIS. It is a group destined to commit genocide. Genocide was officially defined in the United Nations 1948 convention as, “Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such.” The definition continues with the specific acts needed to be committed in order to constitute the classification of genocide. One, “Killing members of the group.” Two, “Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.” Three, “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” Four, “Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.” Five, “Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

The victim groups in question are defined by the ideology of the terror group perpetrating the hate crimes. Members of the extremist group ISIS identify as Sunni Muslims. This classifies ISIS as a religious group. Through their faith their goal is to create a unified “nation under Islam.” This religious group’s nationalistic goal constitutes the perpetrators as a nation, as well. Under this description are all members of society whom ISIS’s version of the Sunni Muslim faith deem outsiders, according to ISIS. This classification forbids the practice of Christianity, Judaism or other segments of Islam. In an NBC article, “Deviant and Pathological What do ISIS Extremists Really Want?” Alex Johnson refers to ISIS’s claim that their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is the direct descendent of Mohammed and therefore is the undisputed leader of Muslims. The June document explicitly declares that the new caliphate is established “for the purpose of compelling the people to do what the Sharia (Allah’s law) requires of them.” In ISIS’s view, that means anyone who doesn’t believe in its severe interpretation of Sharia law is classified as the ‘religious other.’ To understand why ISIS is at its core a group destined to commit genocide, is the presence of intent inspiring their atrocities. ISIS expressed their intent to destroy through their ideology. However, their ideology encompasses more than a written belief — they have acted on their discriminatory doctrines. ISIS gives minority groups one of three options: convert to Islam, leave or die. In an article called “Iraq: ISIS Abducting, Killing, Expelling Minorities” from the Human Rights Watch website, ISIS’s actions in areas in the Middle East are displayed, “The armed Sunni extremist group has seized at least 200 Turkmen, Shabaks, and Yazidis, killed at least 11 of them, and ordered all Christians to convert to Islam, pay ‘tribute’ money, or leave Mosul by July 19.” This quote refers to last June, displaying the requirement of genocide to kill groups and forcing conversion to another group. Though casualities are small in number, ISIS’s clear intent to commit genocide is evident. The article later quotes statistics from a different city under ISIS control, “ISIS has summarily executed Shia captives several times in Iraq, for example killing soldiers. It reportedly killed at least 40 Shia Turkmen, including children, in four communities near the city of Kirkuk, about 100 kilometers southeast of Mosul, on June 16.” Since then American air strikes have pushed ISIS from these areas. Regardless, their ideology and actions committed so far in order to create a caliphate express the genocidal ideology of ISIS. If allowed to establish their caliphate, ISIS will commit genocide.

Anna Glassman can be contacted at

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