The Islamic State’s Barbarity Defies Our Understanding of Genocide

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IS_beheading_execution_barbarityA new paper published through the University of St. Andrews, Dehumanisation in Religious and Sectarian Violence: the Case of Islamic State, explores the uniquely horrific practices of the Islamic State. The author, Dr. Gilbert Ramsay, explores how the Islamic State does not dehumanize their victims in traditional ways. In fact, the Islamic State will often attribute a great deal of humanity to those massacred. This can be seen most explicitly in the videos IS publishes. In one instance, Dr. Ramsay notes IS employs editing in their execution videos that offer: “a window into the thoughts of the penitent victim prior to death”. Through their publications, IS seeks to create an intimate bond between the viewer and the victim. The religious content of the Islamic State ideology is so potent, the dehumanization of massacred individuals is sometimes unnecessary.  According to IS, Infidels and Shiites must be killed or submit to their ideology. As evidenced by the callous nature of their videos, this is done unapologetically.

By D-Ray, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

To be sure, Ramsay also notes the Islamic State will, from time to time, use dehumanizing methods. However, compared to other genocidal organizations, IS does not employ dehumanization nearly as frequently. Notably, the Nazis found found ways to dehumanize and shield themselves from profoundly depraved actions. The implications of the Islamic State’s ideological nature presents a terrifying possibility: we are dealing with an entity that does not find genocidal activities to be morally unconscionable.

Related: Zero Footprint

The Islamic State represents a truly unique and horrible evil. Although they are materially weak, the ideological power of IS is potent. It has been often said that you can kill a man but you can not kill an idea. While I agree with the sentiment of this maxim, the West must begin to attack and kill the ideology upon which the Islamic State is premised. If this new study is any indication, combatting the Islamic State’s cancerous belief system will be incredibly difficult.

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