Few defectors from the terror group ISIS or the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq have spoken out about their disillusionment with the group. However, according to different reports, the spread of flagrant racism among ISIS’ recruits, the killing of Sunni Muslims, and the rise of the power of warlords among the group may underline some of the causes of defection.
In fact, a rising number of Arabian Gulf’s militants have already complained about ISIS’s ill treatment of its followers from the Gulf region.
It appears that ISIS’ leadership hierarchy comprises mainly non-Gulf militants from either Syria, Iraq or northern Africa.
It seems that the terror group has failed to erase the entrenched cultural contradictions, and perhaps rooted animosity, between some of its Middle- Eastern militants. Moreover, according to previous media reports, ISIS appoints non-Arab terrorists as leaders, while sidelining militants from the Arab region.
In addition, the terrorist group assigns menial jobs to some of its Asian recruits like cleaning bathrooms, a cultural bias which contradict with ISIS’ supposed adoption of equality among Muslims and its application of Sharia law! Discrimination and racism contradicts with Islam’s emphasis on equality: “O men, we created you from a male and female, and formed you into nations and tribes that you may recognize each other. He who has more integrity has indeed greater honor with God. Surely God is all-knowing and well-informed” (Quran 49:13).
I would argue that despite some recent reports about the doubling number of volunteers, would-be jihadists pouring into Syria and Iraq, yet the faulty leadership mechanism within ISIS would lead to more defections.
For instance, Iraqis, Syrians, Libyans continue to dominate the upper levels of ISIS’ leadership which will certainly cause continuing conflicts within the ranks of the group.
Furthermore, instead of allowing militants from the Gulf region to rise to the top leadership of the group, ISIS’ Iraqi, Syrian, Libyan, Algerian and Moroccan leaders would only designate fighting roles to their Gulf “brethren.” It is not strange that many have complained that ISIS forces them to become suicide bombers instead of fighting on the battlefield or working in the group’s financial or administrative sectors.
It is not illogical to predict the rise of defection among ISIS’ terrorists, especially among those who come from non-Pan-Arab countries, including the Arabian Gulf, India, and Pakistan … etc. I am still baffled by the tendency among some Gulf countries’ militants to join ISIS despite the fact that many of them are abused, manipulated and imprisoned.
However, it is not farfetched to argue here that most ISIS’ recruits who come from affluent backgrounds will certainly defect after they realize the true nature of the terrorist organization: its reliance on sexual exploitation, slavery, bloody practices, and mafia-like manipulations. True Islam does not justify acts of violence against innocent people.
For example, in the Holy Quran in Surat Al-Maidah, verse 32, God says: “if any one slew a person — unless it be … would be as if he slew the whole people.” A peace-loving and reasonable Muslim will always interpret this particular Quranic verse according to its true context: all human life is sacred throughout time, and if one destroys one single innocent human life, they would have committed an evil act, which contradicts with the basic tenets of Islam.
By Khaled Aljenfawi