A Muslim woman in Philadelphia was arrested this week and accused of attempting to join ISIS. One of my students asked me why would any Muslim in his right mind join ISIL. I said to her that I can give you right away at least five reasons but if you are willing to wait till tomorrow I will come up with a longer list. The next morning I gave my students 25 reasons why Muslims are eager to join ISIL.
ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, was the first name that was given to the organization since its territory was in Iraq and Syria. The acronym in Arabic “Dae’sh,” has four Arabic letters, D, A, E’, Sh. D stands for al-Dawla (state), A stands for al-Islamiya (Islamic), E’ stands Iraq and Sh stands for Sham (Levant). Sham nowadays stands for Damascus or Syria but in its historical Islamic context Sham or Levant included Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. So a more accurate name for the organization is ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. As ISIL’s vision grew larger it changed its name to IS which stands for Islamic State. Their vision is far bigger than Iraq and Levant. They want to expand into Asia, Africa and Europe.