Members of the British Parliament have taken the controversial decision to both support and engage in military action against ISIS militants occupying Iraq. The overwhelming majority of Parliament voted to back the potential air strikes in the country. Thus following in the footsteps of our long-standing allies, the United States of America and possibly jeopardising international relations between the UK and other Muslim states.
In an interview on American news network NBC, Cameron insisted that ISIS’ power came from the way in which it was ‘controlling’ the state, with its irrefutable power coming from both oil and weaponry. It is, of course, undeniable that ISIS, as an organisation that loathes Western culture and lifestyle, poses a threat to the UK and the US. From the protection and precaution sides of the issue, one can understand the reasons behind Cameron’s insistence upon military action: in order to preserve the Western way-of-life in an increasingly globalised and international community.
Not only is Western culture at peril, but it is Western populations themselves that may or may not become the innocent victims of this battle between politics and religion. If we, arguably, have allowed ourselves the liberty to intervene in the Middle Eastern states and effectively ruin innocent lives for our nation’s wellbeing, then what is stopping ISIS from doing the same? It is this looming threat of hate-crime towards Western states that has compelled Cameron to take such drastic action.
However, the very idea of Britain granting itself access to Middle Eastern and Muslim states with its own national interests at heart displays just how radicalism is born. Anger and hatred is justified when foreigners disrupt one’s way of life, and from that frustration, radical thoughts are formed and spread like wildfire throughout communities. Radicalism and organisations such as ISIS are the result of years of negligence on the part of Western countries towards developing states; we have a tendency to disregard their cultures, their political statements and their way of life as being secondary to our own democratic system. Is this perhaps where our fault lies? Do we, as a Westernised society, perpetuate a vicious circle of religious violence by denying people the very right to express their religion?
Britain’s involvement in Iraq and the debate over whether air strikes are ethical are, of course, multi-faceted discussions with neither a correct nor a wrong answer. At the end of the day, each party is merely trying to preserve what is in their own best interests. However, the ritualised killing of British aid worker David Haines and a potential threat to a second British citizen must not be ignored. These could be the stepping stones towards a larger, much more complex and even more dangerous threat to the United Kingdom. The question at hand is whether or not we can afford to take a risk.
By Sharlene Gandhi
[Image Credit: Señor Codo]