‘Defining’ Terror, and Why ISIS Suits the West

Media Diversified

by Chimene Suleyman

ISIS have never shocked the West. Not really. They are an al-Qaeda template with a Twitter handle. There are only so many ways you can torture and kill someone, and it’s nothing Abu Ghraib hasn’t seen before. But is there anything that suits the West’s understanding of the Middle East more than a group of highly violent, Islamic-obsessed men who shout Allahu Akbar as a prelude to murder? Probably not.

To dehumanise is a natural extension when discussing the Middle East, least of all because of terror organisations like this. Whilst the actions of ISIS are horrifying, inhumane behaviour is still human. Still, brandishing ‘barbaric’, ‘savage’ and ‘backwards’ is barely confined to the actions of a few with a YouTube channel broadcast from a training camp. The words are spread to include all Muslims, used to describe with suspicion all facets of Islamic and Middle Eastern life…

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