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The real ISIS fighters on the front line

by Breonnah Colón - Lifestyles Editor
Tue, Feb 27th 2018 08:00 pm
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When you think of American heroes, you tend to think of names like George Washington, Bill Gates or, for some, President Donald  Trump. If these are people you think of as heroes, it’s probably for a good reason; you view these people as exceptional, inspirational figures who in some way, have helped our country to progress and grow. It would be safe to assume that one aspect of the “American hero” is helping our country progress in a positive way. 

One group that’s always been seen as being made up of American heroes is the American military. Our soldiers are the epitome of what a hero is: brave, strong and capable enough to conquer anything. Yet, there are other soldiers who do the same thing, who are just as brave as ours and who help our country to progress in the same way. Men and women with names like Muhammad, Ahmed and Anas.

Clearly, those names are not what are typically associated with American heros. In fact, those sorts of names tend to be associated with the American idea of an antihero. It is these very same people, however, who stand fighting beside U.S. soldiers for the benefit of both their own country and the U.S. Their enemy is the same as ours: ISIS.

Given the current social environment we’re in, which has not been made any better by the absent-minded statements made by our president about any other nation but Russia, it makes sense that most people don’t associate Arab names with American hero titles. Most Americans hear names like Ahmed and Ali and immediately jump to associate those names, and by further extent, those people, with terrorists. The fact remains that the biggest threat to the U.S. is not your atypical Umar, but your typical Joe, as we have seen these past few weeks with the Florida school shooting. So how do we undo this big knot of confusion and association? How do we know who our true American heroes are? First, we open our eyes.

It is America’s biggest blunder that average citizens are so hung up on their lack of understanding of Islam and the Middle East, that the only thing they know how to do is mistreat anyone they assume to be Middle Eastern. The fact remains that the main target and, therefore, the most victimized people of ISIS, are Muslims. According to independent.co.uk, Muslims make up the largest number of terrorist attacks by ISIS worldwide. If you think about it, this makes sense. While Trump likes to swear the U.S. is being bombed everyday by ISIS, the truth is, we’re not. 

Yes, terrorist attacks which are allegedly linked to ISIS do take place; however, those instances do not take place nearly as frequently as instances of domestic terrorism, which have certainly seen a spike over recent years. To compare, our last instance of international terrorism which was allegedly linked to ISIS was in December 2017, yet our last instance of domestic terrorism happened just two weeks ago.

However, in the Middle East, things are a little different. According to The Washington Post, terrorism in Africa and the Middle East at the hand of ISIS is several times higher than that of America. The article explains, “Over two-thirds of terrorism deaths [have taken place in Africa and the Middle East] since January 2015, with multiple attacks occurring daily, each claiming on average at least a dozen lives.”

This heightened level of attacks have undoubtedly resulted in a higher need for protection of innocent civilians. Not only are Middle Eastern and African civilians being targeted and threatened, but there are several U.S. military bases in the countries that are targeted, which also puts American lives directly in the crossfire. That’s where our Middle Eastern heroes come in.

Seeing the brunt force of war, Syria has been in the news for all of the most heartbreaking reasons. Yet, recently we saw a little glimmer of hope from within the country. According to The New York Times, Manbij, a section of Syria which has recently been overtaken by ISIS, has been reclaimed as safe for civilians, all due to the teamwork of Syrian and American soldiers in what is known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

With the help of Syrian soldiers like Deputy Commander Najim Muhammad, Brigade Commander Agid Ahmed and Militia Commander  Zinareen Anas, U.S. soldiers were able to stave off and beat their ISIS counterparts. The situation may seem far away from home and not very important, but the fact of the matter is, if we view American heroes as people sacrificing their lives for the benefit of this country, that’s exactly what those men and women are doing. 

So, perhaps our list of American heroes, like our country, should be more accepting and grateful to those who have names like Muhammad, because they too are helping make America become great. 

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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