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World Leaders Need to Step Up in ISIL Fight

In one way or another, we have all heard about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its gruesome, extremist actions. This group of Islamic fundamentalists is proving to be dangerous, committing increasingly revolting crimes against humanity over the past few years. As of Feb. 27, the ISIL has rapidly expanded its control over territories in Iraq, Syria, Sinai and eastern Libya. The European Union, affected countries from the Middle East, and the United States have formed a coalition to combat ISIL in defending global secularism. So far, this U.S.-led coalition has killed approximately 6,000 members of ISIL in air strikes, according to BBC News.

The U.S. is taking charge, yet again, but some influential nations who could make a huge contribution to include China and Russia, are committed to doing nothing. It seems that even other members of the United Nations (UN) expect only the “first world” to carry the weight of the rest of the planet’s problems. The majority of African, South American and South-East Asian countries urge the UN, time and again, to help them overcome their respective human-rights concerns. However, these countries which account for a large mass of our globe have given no more than verbal support to a cause against outright genocide when they could provide their strength of numbers.

Over the course of less than a year, ISIL has used social media as a way to threaten the apostates of Salafi Islam: Christians. The largest chunk of its Internet Jihadist appeal consists of highly disturbing beheading videos. The latest one was released on Feb. 15, featuring the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians right after the narrating executioner announced, “The Sea you have hidden Osama bin Laden’s body in, we will mix it with your blood.”  Owing to the regularity of such videos, which are sometimes released twice a week, the UN Security Council (SC) adopted the Resolution 2170 in August 2014 to condemn the actions of the ISIL, according to the UN official website. 

Although the resolution was unanimously passed, urging the international community to act soon and strong against ISIL, two out of five of the Permanent Members of the United Nations’ Security Council, namely Russia and China, refused to join the U.S.-led coalition. A Russian Times report quoted Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi saying, “Our policy does not allow us to get involved in the international coalition.” The U.S.’s role in the Ukrainian dispute has made Russia decline the coalition, automatically. It doesn’t help the situation when the UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan’s panel, in its annual report, put Russia’s actions in Ukraine among this year’s international threats, along with ISIL and Ebola. The important question to ask, then, is why we feel the world is getting smaller everyday? We hear diplomats and politicians refer to the world as a “global village” but we can’t seem to unite against a group of insensitive criminals who are spreading the disease of fanaticism, faster than Ebola.

Even as the carnage endures, becoming more inhumane every day, Rorate Caeli- one among the many international traditional Catholic web logs- posts, “You may kill our brethren and expel them, but we Christians will never go away.” This is exactly what ISIL, like every other fundamentalist group, wants: people to feed into its propaganda. It is time for all nations to wake up and realize that ISIL’s movement is not a reenactment of the Crusades, where the fight was only between those who belong to the two involved religious followers, but a form of neo-Nazism. We all have a collective responsibility towards each other as global citizens.

The international community waits to react, while the death toll rises at an increasing velocity in ISIL controlled regions. The state of affairs cannot be ignored, simply because the Coptic Orthodox Church has decided to give the title of “martyrs” to the 21 Christians that were killed in the latest video. After all, the title of a martyr means nothing to the families who have witnessed the kidnapping and beheading of their loved ones. 

The UN needs to discuss the greater psychological repercussions of ISIL’s actions and understand the urgency to act with the power of a fist instead of poking separate fingers. Allowing ISIL to expand and strengthen is allowing terrorism to find worldwide momentum. If powerful nations like Russia and China continue to let  “policy” override protective action, in such a state of worldwide ideological warfare, we might see the doom of the civilization we claim to be so proud of. 

Decision-makers of all countries should cooperate and understand that the U.S., affected Middle East and European countries are not the only ones that ought to retaliate. ISIL is not waging a war between the Muslims and the Christians, but one against humanity. All nations are obligated to contribute in its essential culmination.

Kamakshi Dadhwal can be reached at

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