A year ago, I launched my Blog, Zany Times. Since then many people have been reading my posts and some have written to me about my posts. Thank you for reading my posts and for motivating me to write. I have enjoyed this opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences with you. My first post on October 16th 2013 was about violence. It is perhaps coincidental, if this is the right word, that after one year this post marking the anniversary of my Blog should be about a violent terrorist organisation. In this post I share with you a conversation that I had with a young man about why people join ISIS. Our conversation is reported below.

Ahmad: Some people join ISIS because they believe that ISIS will enable them to do
something meaningful in their lives. By joining ISIS, they feel that they are
answering a call to something.

Me: There are many ways to do something meaningful. Joining a violent terrorist
organisation like ISIS will not provide anything meaningful or significant
for you. In your own country you can help the disabled, the unfortunate and
any other person who needs help. You can chart new directions for the people
in your community. You can do exciting things with your talents and your own
interests. You can create art, write, produce plays and music. You can use
your technical and scientific skills to develop products and machines. There
is so much around you in your own country for you to do. You can find
alternative ways of being significant and of making a contribution to the

Ahmad: Some join ISIS because it is something exciting and big. They are drawn to it
because the members of ISIS are united for a cause.

Me: The cause of ISIS is wrong. The cause is evil. ISIS is a
violent, barbaric terrorist group which promotes destruction and chaos. It
treats women badly and practices slavery. It is not exciting. You can join
groups in your country which promote exciting, stimulating things. These
could be cultural, artistic, political, social and humanitarian. People
working with you in your group to achieve your cause will provide you with

Ahmad: One other reason people give for joining ISIS is that it is the manly thing
to do and that it provides adventure.

Me: Joining ISIS will not validate one’s manliness. Neither will it make people
think higher of you. It will not enhance your status in society. You can
undertake activities within and outside your country that will give you
adventure. You can climb mountains, trek vast landscapes, cross rivers and
travel widely. Recently in the media we saw three Nepalese men who have
cycled across the world. One of the three cyclists cycled backwards. There
are many exciting adventures to undertake and you can work with others to
experience these. Find a community, national or international organisation
that can help you to achieve this.

Ahmad: There are people who have joined ISIS because they feel that they are
discriminated in their own country. They feel that they have not been
accepted by others. Joining ISIS, they think, will make them feel secure and

Me: If you feel discriminated in your own country, there are ways to correct this
situation. You can speak up, take action and seek for improvements. These are
your human rights. There are channels within your country for change to take
place. There are people with whom you can speak and there are activities that
you can undertake. Form a group, write to the media and speak to your Member
of Parliament. Running off to join ISIS will not help you to overcome
discrimination. Do something for others in your community and country and you
will find that your self-esteem will be enhanced.

Ahmad: Many people have been attracted to ISIS because they are not certain about
their life and they believe that ISIS will give them answers.

Me: Perhaps these people have not looked within their own countries for people
and organisations which can help them to find answers and certainty about
their life. The opportunities for developing structure and order in one’s
life can be found from youth organisations, community and other groups. You
don’t need to go to Syria and join ISIS for certainty in your life.

Ahmad: There are people who watch the publicity videos used by ISIS and they are
attracted to the propaganda that ISIS promotes.

Me: When we watch a publicity video or read publicity materials put out by any
group, we should ask ourselves various questions about the organisation
behind the materials. With ISIS materials we should ask the following

Who is the leader and what is his personal history? (Has he been identified
as a terrorist previously?( Yes.)
What does the group demand of the members?(To engage in war)
Will I have any independence if I join ISIS?(No, as you are sworn to
ISIS rules
What is the relationship between the group and the wider community? Is this a
healthy one? (No. ISIS is violent and cruel to others.)
Is the core purpose of this group relevant and correct? (Absolutely

Ahmad: The people who have joined ISIS wish to fight for Islam and create an Islamic
state. This is the core purpose and concern of ISIS.

Me: ISIS is not promoting Islam because all that it is doing is contrary to the
teachings of Islam. People who wish to join ISIS for this reason should read
what Islamic scholars and others have to say about the un-Islamic practices
of ISIS. They should not blindly accept the words of ISIS which are often a
misinterpretation of Islamic texts.

Ahmad: There has been a mixed group of people joining ISIS.

Me: The media has described many of them as “bloodthirsty monsters” who wish to
engage in violent activities. They want to shoot, hurt, sexually assault,
rape, kill and behead others. Some have criminal backgrounds and others want
the opportunity to realise their ugly fantasies. There are also some naïve
people joining ISIS.

To anyone thinking of joining ISIS, I urge you to ask yourself why you wish
to join this group of barbarians. Is this the reason God put you in this
world ? Do you want to engage in violent atrocities day in and day out?

Stay home and show the world how you can engage others to be happy, live well
and be comfortable. Use your talents and skills productively. Remember that
you are an able and valuable person and that you
have much to share with others in your own country and with your family and


  1. Hi Zaibun!

    Congratulations and thanks for a year’s sharing of your spirited intellectual commentary laced with a delightful sense of humour. Like others contributing to your blog, I feel privileged to be within this coterie.
    As far as Ahmad’s views on ISIS, I have to say that he is remarkably perceptive. In my view, no religion advocates such brutality and so relating it to Islam is fundamentally incorrect. It is an ideology that will only be tempered by negotiation and increased communication to understand the basis of what western society may perceive as whacky. Guns will certainly not resolve the problem at hand. Rather, recognition and an understanding of other people’s problems and treating them on a level platform will go a long way to allaying current brutality.

    Best wishes and Good Luck for Year 2!

    Osborn Viegas

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