The News
Saturday 13 of July 2024

ISIS Terrorism Exposes the Failures of Others


Muslims attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Ahmedabad, India,photo: Reuters/Amit Dave
Muslims attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Ahmedabad, India,photo: Reuters/Amit Dave
The past week has seen an alarming campaign of slaughter unleashed by the militants of the Islamic State, hitting targets in four different countries

Many Muslim majority countries will mark Eid al-Fitr, or the last day of the holy month of Ramadan, on Wednesday. But for politicians and other leading figures from Turkey to Bangladesh, the annual holiday comes at a profoundly somber moment.

The past week has seen an alarming campaign of slaughter unleashed by the militants of the Islamic State, hitting targets in four different countries.

“This has turned into the most blood-soaked Ramadan yet in the Islamic State’s campaign,” writes The Washington Post’s Liz Sly. “At least 290 people have been killed in attacks claimed by or linked to the Islamic State — at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, at a restaurant frequented by foreigners in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, and in Baghdad. The vast majority of them, 222 people, died in the Baghdad blast, which targeted a shopping street packed with people celebrating the end of the day’s fast and shopping for the approaching holiday.”

The bombing in central Karrada shopping district of Baghdad, a city ravaged by years of sectarian bloodletting, was the deadliest in Iraq since 2007. It was followed by three more strikes across Saudi Arabia, including an explosion in the city of Medina near the 7th century mosque where the prophet Muhammad is buried. It’s one of the holiest sites of Islam.

The near universal reaction to the spate of terrorist violence has been one of outrage and bewilderment.

“There’s a Muslim tradition that says that, before Jesus descends, the Antichrist will have free reign over the earth, filling it with injustice and evil. But he won’t be allowed to enter Mecca or Medina,” explains Muslim-American writer Haroon Moghul. “Perhaps it’s this conviction that explains why so many Muslims I am talking to right now simply cannot believe what has just happened.”

Saudi Arabia’s supreme council of clerics said the blasts “prove that those renegades … have violated everything that is sacred.”

Despite suffering significant battlefield reverses in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State has showed its capacity to inflict harm on a wide and devastating scale. Its fighters still preside over a sickening network of captives and sex slaves. Its proxies hit soft targets as far-flung as Jakarta and Paris. And its propaganda organs continue to trumpet the extremist organization’s puritanical creed, challenging the legitimacy of the kings and politicos in the halls of power in the Middle East.

The Islamic State, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, is “a dagger stabbed into the chest of Muslims.”

There’s hope that the recent onslaught will spur greater, coordinated action against the extremist group. The attack on Saudi Arabia even drew sympathetic statements from its regional foe, Iran, whose theocratic Shiite regime is embroiled in a range of proxy struggles with the kingdom across the Middle East.

ISHAAN THAROOR