The ideology of ISIS is just as deadly
ISIS, the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has resurfaced in the west once again. On the one year anniversary of the terrorist attack in Brussels, an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack hit another large western city—London.
Khalid Masood, 52, was the lone attacker in last week’s terrorist attack in London. He killed three people and injured 40 by ramming his car into pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge. When he got on foot, he stabbed a police officer. Eventually, he was shot and killed by police. He was the fourth death in the ordeal. Officials report that Masood was targeting the historic Parliamentary building. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack and claimed that Masood was an "Islamic State soldier.”
Despite ISIS only having a strong presence in Iraq and Syria, ISIS supporters have taken it upon themselves to commit terrorist attacks in the name of the Islamic State. From Indonesia to the United States, terrorist acts have been done by ISIS supporters themselves.
Neighbors of Masood claim that he was an ordinary neighbor, friendly and seemingly “normal.” He was not a trained fighter from the Middle East. He became radicalized in Europe.
How does one find such a small, disguised enemy?
Clearly, it has been hard on intelligence officials. Terrorist attacks happen so frequently, that they have become normalized. The outrage becomes quieter after each attack.
Granted Masood’s attack resulted in fewer casualties than Orlando’s or Brussels' shooters, it is still a strong testimony of an underlying Islamic State presence in the western world. It is impressive in regards of ISIS’s influence; and terrifying to the rest.
It makes for a complicated issue in the Middle East. If ISIS does lose its territory, will it also lose its influence and ideology as well?
How can we stop the radicalization of young men and women (and grown men, in the case of Masood)? One cannot stop the ideology from growing or staying persistent. That is what makes ISIS so scary. Even if ISIS is stripped from their territory and all their fighters are killed, their beliefs might find refuge through sympathizers and supporters.
Only time will tell as to how far this plague will spread.