Salma Hassaballa has produced two documentaries and written books in multiple genres. She is a member of the Egyptian Writers Union.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (“ISIS”) is a jihadist fundamentalist militant group following the doctrine of Sunni Islam. Their aim is to control the world in order to implement God’s law, which is, according to them, ‘Sharia law’. To achieve their goal they have committed the most sinister crimes in recent history, including live beheadings of soldiers, civilians, journalists and aid workers, and uploaded the videos on the internet.
Despite the assertions made by the international and local media, I, as a Muslim living in the Middle East, doubt their claims, for the following reasons:
1. Their Crimes Are in Favor of Any Other Than Muslims
We have to bear in mind that offenders commit crimes to serve their interests. Accordingly, at a crime scene, any smart detective will tell you to look for the beneficiary. Here, Muslims never benefit from the attacks by ISIS. On the contrary, Muslims suffer severely the consequences of their horrific attacks and in order to answer the many questions about ISIS including what their true identity is, who is controlling them and to whom they are agents of, we have to verify the intended beneficiary of their crimes.
2. They Mainly Kill Muslims and Destroy Muslims’ Land
ISIS claims to be initiating the Islamic state, but what they are actually doing is bringing the whole Islamic region into chaos and invading Muslim lands. The group has brutally murdered countless Sunni Muslims  as well as Shiites. In 2015, King Abdullah II of Jordan said in his first interview after Islamic State militants burned a Jordanian pilot alive: "What about the hundreds if not thousands of Muslims they (ISIS) have killed in Syria and Iraq over the past year and a half?" 
In fact, ISIS never even hesitates to kill Muslim children! For example, they killed over 125 people including women and children in a suicide car bomb targeted at the Karrada shopping area in 2016. Entire families that were shopping and socializing after breaking the Ramadan fast at sunset were gone in a blink. 
3. ISIS Carefully Films the Slaughtering of Non-Muslims
Filming the beheading of victims runs contrary to logical thinking; for as we know, perpetrators would usually quickly hide any trace of their crime to appear innocent. However, ISIS are proud to declare their evil crimes and even excel in filming and spreading the clips over the net.
Another important point is, that despite slaughtering many Muslims, ISIS are actually much more concerned with filming the beheading of Westerners and non-Muslims. These two groups are murdered in much smaller numbers compared to Muslims victims but this is done to move the global opinion against Islam. Videos released on the internet show the beheading of non-Muslims including the US Journalist Steven Sotloff, the British aid worker David Haines (2014) and twenty-one Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach (2016).
4. ISIS Are too Professional in Movie Production
ISIS movies which are produced by using professional media equipment like cranes and sophisticated cameras often make me wonder. For Iraq, the origin of ISIS was never known to excel in filmmaking. So how would a group of devastated and defeated people develop such skills and own the needed equipment, transport it in many places in such a short time? Who is teaching them? Who is financing and supplying them with the required equipment? Who is behind?
5. ISIS’ Was Created in Few Years Out of Chaos
We know that the US invaded Iraq in 2003, and the last 500 American soldiers left Iraq on the morning of 18 December 2011. Causalities caused by the war were horrific and the country was brutally destroyed. There were unprecedented numbers of violent deaths, and missing people; destruction of homes, buildings, and infrastructure was everywhere. Chaos and panic were spread ubiquitously. Thus, it would be nearly impossible for any organized and powerful group, including ISIS, to grow that rapidly in these circumstances.
Another point of concern is the way they continue to grow without surveillance or censorship. This has been going on since their very early stages of development and is surprising given the dominant American presence.
6. ISIS’ Power
ISIS group is undefeatable even though the whole world is against them; yet, their quick expansion and strength—evident by acquiring big chunks of land—leaves me feeling very skeptical. Are they financed by oil, as President Trump said in his speech to the CIA in Jan 2017, when he said that they should have kept oil from Iraq for economic reasons and then added: “ But if you think about it, Mike, if you kept the oil you probably wouldn’t have ISIS because that’s where they made their money in the first place.” With a little bit of reflection you find that if oil is a true source of protection and power, Iraq would have succeeded in protecting itself against the invasion of the Americans and their coalition in 2003. But, this was not the case. Oil was not enough to keep them safe, so why would it suddenly allow divided, devastated, and defeated people to have so much power?
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7. Israel Is Silent
Surprisingly, while ISIS militants are expanding, there is no reaction from Israel. This is completely opposite to their usual attitude when anything, no matter how trivial, threatens their existence.
8. The Imprisonment of al-Baghdadi
ISIS’ leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was held in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison for a period of time . We know how the detainees suffered all kinds of abuse and torture in these notorious prisons, which led some to suggest that these places are under the ‘mind control’ programs of the CIA. For me, even if these brutal and unprecedented torture techniques are not related to any ‘mind control’ program or brainwashing, they are enough to change a person’s identity and goals. Salah Ejaili, an Al Jazeera reporter, who was arrested during his media coverage in Iraq and kept in Abu Ghraib Prison for 48 days in 2003 said in a phone interview from Qatar that he was beaten, left naked, and left in solitary confinement, and suffered from other forms of torture. He then added: "When people look at others who are naked, they feel like they're animals in a zoo, in addition to being termed as criminals and as terrorists," he said. "That had a very strong psychological impact." 
9.The Name ISIS Is too Alien
We Arabs, unlike the West, never use acronyms or abbreviations to refer to people, companies, parties, products, etc. Therefore, the name ISIS is very unusual for us. Even the Arabic word ‘Da’esh’ is also an abbreviation, and this is too alien, too foreign!
10. ISIS Lies About Islam
ISIS behead people claiming that they aim to implement Sharia law, but is the beheading of people closely, or even remotely related to Sharia law?
If we look closely to one of the main sources of Sharia, which is the Divine source (the Holy Quran), we find a verse that directly articulates the Quran’s position on the killing of the innocent: “.. whoever kills a person unless it is for murder or corruption on earth - it is as if he killed the whole of mankind; and whoever saves it, it is as if he saved the whole of mankind…” (5:32). As we can see, the Quran not only considers the beheading of an innocent person—no matter what his belief or affiliation is—as a traditional felony but perceives it as a horrendous crime; the murder of all mankind!
In addition, the claim that Muslims have deep-rooted intentions to invade the world in order to rule by Sharia law is contrary to the teachings of our religion and Sharia, for God orders us in the Quran not to transgress by stating: “…but do not commit aggression.. ” (2:190)
And not to compel by saying: “And so (O Prophet) exhort them; your task is only to exhort; you cannot compel” (88:21-22). “.. and you (Prophet) are not a dictator over them” (50:45). In fact, God created different nations not to fight each other but to get to know one another, God says: “O people! We created you male and female, and made you races and tribes, that you may know one another … “(49:13).
Islam also regards all nations as one family in humanity, God says: “O people! Fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul..”(4:1). As we see, ISIS claims that they came to apply Sharia law, however, what they are doing runs contrary to it. Thus, I was not surprised to know that they are recruiting those who have a limited grasp of the Islamic faith.  And I, as a practicing Muslim, can openly say that their claims and acts have nothing to do with Islam.
ISIS and the Twenty One Coptic Martyrs
Please note the use of different camera angles, wide angles, sophisticated cameras, and crane, the zoom into the facial expressions of the martyrs, also watch the reddish sea waves at the end of the clip, all need a filmmaking experience and skills.
Also, the contradictory message of their representative should be worthy of notice, as he said that God sent his prophet with the sword as a mercy to the world! The whole message is nothing but a frank distortion that serves their aim to spread animosity towards one of the greatest religions of the world, a religion of peace.
The Bottom Line
With a little reflection, one can easily see that ISIS is not as they claim to be, despite their allegations and mainstream media propaganda. However, if ISIS is not as they appear, then who are they? Are they designed to accomplish a certain role and then to disappear as soon as they complete it in the region?
This question needs to be answered by intellectuals and people who can think and reflect.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2017 Salma Hassaballa