ISIS Reflects the Dark Side of the Western World

By Ray Hanania

March 24, 2016 6 min read



ISIS Reflects the Dark Side of the Western World

The rise of Islamic extremist violence and the fundamental absence of Americans' educated understanding of the Middle East and the Muslim world has resulted in violent religious chaos that will worsen in the future.

Violence without a political agenda is a violence that cannot be stopped. The Islamic State isn't after a negotiated peace. Americans can't possibly understand any of this because they are so brainwashed by years of fabricated historical narratives about what motivates terrorists. The truth is, Western civilization has engaged in a pattern of oppression that it has adjusted to suit its needs over time.

The West's oppressions have matured and adjusted over centuries; they've tried to redefine apartheid and racism of subjugated people in the Middle East, the Muslim world and the Third World altogether. Long ago in the 19th century, for example, British imperialism subjugated peoples' rights.

The recent attacks in Brussels, Belgium, which have taken the lives of 34 innocent people, symbolize how the resistance to Western imperialism has transformed. The attacks only reinforce the growing power of the Islamic State group. The group continues to globalize and enlist more and more people to die for a cause that lacks a political agenda.

Most Americans don't associate their political history with tyranny at all. They have carefully rewritten the story of how the Native American population was ethnically cleansed. They brush off slavery as something that happened hundreds of years ago, forgetting that it has in fact transformed into an accepted form of segregation in today's society. Racism remains a significant reality in America, although it is muted and pushed into the recesses of political correctness. White America doesn't use racial slurs as much as it did during slavery, but it still does. American society can be partially defined by racism cloaked in a new form of segregation, which also defines how they view the rest of the world.

Certain countries in Western Europe did not eliminate their racist policies, either. They merely adjusted them, spreading them throughout the Arab world, the Islamic world and the Third World.

After World War I, Britain, France and America carved up the Middle East based on political interests rather than the rights of the Middle Eastern people. They handpicked tyrants to reinforce their interests, and allowed dictatorships in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and even Iran to be created.

Americans know little about the differences between Muslims and Arabs. Americans are bewildered in their ignorance of history and the facts of what they have done.

They ignore how British intelligence and the CIA facilitated bringing devastation to the Iranian people in the 1950s: They helped reinstate the tyrannical Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who declared himself the King of Kings of Iran.

During the shah's rule, innocent civilians were tortured and murdered. The purpose of his violence was to reinforce his tyranny, strip the nation of its wealth and support American foreign policy by making deals with U.S. oil companies. These companies went into foreign countries to cut deals with the Western-appointed dictators and reap the oil and its profits. Many of these people lived in poverty and were subjected to brutality, jail and murder when they complained about the pro-American dictators and tyrants.

Americans also wonder why Iranians became so angry with them. Eventually, in 1979, Iranian students entered the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took more than 60 Americans hostage and barraged them with verbal rhetoric and threats for 444 days.

That's one reason why the radical jihad message resounds throughout the Islamic World, Asia and the Third World. Everyone there knows exactly what America and Britain did, and how they got away with murder while hypocritically spouting off empty declarations about "democracy," the rule of law and human rights.

In the 1940s, people watched as America encouraged Britain to relocate Jewish refugees — many of them Holocaust survivors — into Palestine. Conflict arose among the Jews and non-Jews when Palestine was then partitioned into two states. Western Europe wanted to feel better about the oppression of Jews in European territory. Ironically, because of issues of superiority and hatred, Britain and America are doing to Syrian refugees today what they did to the Jews during World War II.

The Islamic State can't be beat by Western civilization pretending it is a terrorist movement that somehow differs from their own acts. Americans need to recognize that they helped create ISIS and the environment that allowed it to spread. ISIS isn't wholly driven by its leaders; it is fueled by the feelings of suffering and victimization that have spread throughout the Arab world, Muslim world and Third World, which the West refuses to acknowledge or correct.

I don't expect Americans to understand this. They are so brainwashed and so uneducated about the reality of the world they live.

Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American columnist, managing editor of The Arab Daily News at, and writer at Al-Jazeera English. Follow him on Twitter @RayHanania. To find out more about Ray Hanania and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit

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