A Growing Threat

The dangers of jihadist Islamism cannot be dismissed

by Yatindra Bhatnagar

Today’s two top foreign policy issues—ISIS and the refugee crisis—are not only intertwined as outgrowths of the instability and conflict in Iraq and Syria, but also in the risk they pose to other nations. ISIS and other jihadist Islamists pose a direct threat to the West, and the massive influx of refugees to Europe and abroad could bring those same jihadist agents or its sympathizers with it.

People in huge numbers are fleeing the three-front conflict between the Syrian government, Western-backed anti-governmental forces, and ISIS. The bulk of war refugees are camped in Jordan and Turkey, but many press on to Europe. At the porous European border, the agents of ISIS and economic migrants from elsewhere pretend to be refugees of the Syrian war to enter the continent. The risk is that some may bring ISIS’s brand of jihadist ideology with them.

The emergence and rapid expansion of ISIS and its continued brutal activities have given a new dimension to what many call radical or jihadist Islamism. The ultimate aim of this extreme ideology seems to be indiscriminate killing in the name of Islam and the establishment of a medieval Muslim caliphate across the Middle East, and eventually the world.

ISIS has embarked on this dangerous mission by fighting and capturing chunks of Syria and Iraq and encouraging terror in other parts of the world, including France and the United States. ISIS has now topped all the other terror groups, such as Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and the Taliban, in scope, ambition, brutality, weaponry, areas under physical occupation, and financial resources.

Their motivation is …

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