ISIS reality

“I’m willing to go out on a limb here and say ISIS will be destroyed,” said Dr. Mark Long, associate professor of the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core on Tuesday evening at the “Crisis of ISIS” panel.

A panel of three Baylor professors, along with former U.S. Congressman Chet Edwards, spoke to a group of students and faculty Tuesday night about the culture of ISIS and how the U.S. and the world can address the threat of the organization.

There are five parts to the ideology of ISIS: a new identity for the members; the metanarrative the organization presents is public through social media; attacks are that are presented as less damaging than those that have been causes by the West; sending a message for war; and sending a message presented as a “framework for understanding all of the world,” Long said.

ISIS was originally the organization known as Al Qaeda. In 2006, it became the Islamic State in Iraq, and in 2013, it became known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Although ISIS still has ties to Al Qaeda, it has parted from the organization in that ISIS has made many more blood sacrifices and it is an apocalyptic organization, Long said.

Dr. Lynn Tatum, associate director of Middle Eastern studies, gave a background of the founding of Islam by Mohammad, giving insight to how ISIS has turned into the organization it is today.

“There must be a military response,” Long said in response to a question about how to address the threat of ISIS.

Former Sen. Chet Edwards added that the “only certainty of war is uncertainty.” He stressed that he regretted his decision to vote to send troops to Iraq in 2002 because he said American intelligence was wrong and there were no weapons of mass destruction discovered.

Dr. Lynn Whitcomb, Arabic lecturer and linguist at Baylor, added that the U.S. military is known as “occupiers” in the middle eastern press.

Edwards also explained that 83 percent of the House of Representatives and 66 percent of the Senate are not on foreign relations committees in Congress, emphasizing that Congress collectively doesn’t have the knowledge of the Middle East that the professors on the panel have.

Edwards said officials need to understand the history, religion and culture of the middle east in order to combat ISIS, and “the worst thing we can do is have political leaders make this a war against Islam.”

Several students were in attendance.

“I loved the panel. I came here to become more informed, because I think it is really easy to exist in the Baylor bubble without reaching out to other people, said Westlake Village, Calif. freshman Grace Armstrong. “I feel a lot more informed and more responsibility for checking up on the news everyday and understanding the world and having a heart for both compassion and justice.”

The panel was hosted by the Baylor and Beyond Living-Learning Center and the Center for Global Engagement.