Israfil Yilmaz, a Dutch Islamic State (ISIS) fighter of Turkish origin who has previously been active on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, has moved to Reddit after numerous suspensions and bans chased him off other sites. One Reddit feature is AMA (“Ask Me Anything”), in which a celebrity or other notable individual answers questions from readers; on November 22, 2015, Yilmaz held his own AMA session. This is the first time an ISIS fighter has used this feature as a platform.
Yilmaz opened his AMA session by stating, “I am a former solider in both the Turkish and Dutch army, now a soldier fighting alongside the Islamic State (IS). AMA before I get blocked/banned or droned to death. Note my Ask.fm/Twitter/Instagram and Tumblr have all been terminated.” He also provided links to twoNew York Times articles about him.
Reader “Zeedware” challenged ISIS’s actions, asking Yilmaz: “Why do you kill innocent civilian and not high-ranking executive? Isn’t what you did is the opposite of what prophet Muhammad SAW teach us? He spare children, women, and civilians. While your primary target is civilians.”
Yilmaz responded, “Not all missions are carried out against non-combatants, on so many fronts against so many different factions, you think all of them are civilians? I don’t think so? Missions carried out against non-combatants are a message to those who kill our people on a regular basis. It’s as simple as an eye for an eye, fight them the way they fight you.”
U.S. service member “Xcommon” asked Yilmaz: “I’m going to drink the kool-aid and give you the benefit of the doubt that you are telling the truth. I’m a US-service member on deployment and it kind of fascinates me that I may correspond with someone who is my enemy. I come from Catholic origins but am agnostic/non-practicing. On to my questions. 1. I work with several Muslims, and I know two very well. They are great people, smart, funny, confident, and loyal. They denounce the acts of IS, on the grounds of it not being in line with Muslim core-teachings. But mostly that, even if it was, it offends them to the core. When you see the atrocities being committed by your brothers (and possibly you), does it not affect you? Do you see it as justified or necessary? Or do you see nothing wrong with it at all?
“2. You don’t have to be the Sun Tzu to see the writing on the wall. Even if this really was considered to be a war of attrition by IS leaders, none of the great economies are bankrupting themselves in the battle. We spend crazy amounts of money on exercises. We trash loads of ordinance that expire. The war on IS is simply another place to keep our troops sharp and get rid of old ordinance we didn’t need anymore. The modern world won’t attrite before IS ground to dust. What possible end-game can you see? Or is martyrdom your goal?
“3. I feel it’s important to understand your enemy. I’m familiar with the Torah, Bible, and Quran. I respect your beliefs and your rights to have them. I understand the view of IS, based on their many public releases. Based on your predilection for extremism, it’s not possible for you to safely occupy the same land as my friends and family. Because of your willingness to violently impose your will on others, the only thing we can do with you is imprison or eliminate you. There aren’t any other options. Do you feel you understand your enemy? Do you understand my mindset and, if so, is my desire to simply raise my family in peace, absent your faith, too much of an impasse for you?
“4. You could potentially live next door to me, raise a family, go to your mosque, live a fully and happy life. The only thing you can’t do, is hurt and subjugate others, without reprisal and consequences. Ultimately your ideas, that you could have passed on to your sons and daughters will die with you. Do you have any sense of loss for the life you could have had? This isn’t WW3 for us. You aren’t a significant force and you’re incapable of occupying a single country or inflicting significant losses. You’re not going to bankrupt us. Our spending is the same regardless of whether or not we’re fighting you. your attacks on civilians only garner patriotism and increase the military ranks of your enemies. Lastly, I want to thank you for bringing the world closer together. The world’s superpowers have been tied together socioeconomically for decades, and now we have a common military goal, potentially paving the way for mutual cooperation, the easing of tensions and possibly even future alliances. How freaking ironic would it be if you guys actually ended up being the harbingers of world peace? lol”
In his response to Xcommon, Yilmaz started by praising the questions: “I’ve had thousands of questions from thousands of different people (ask.fm/Tumblr) and I must say your series of questions are definitely in my ‘best’ questions list. Don’t get too excited though, I’m going to keep my answers very short and simple. 1. Not everybody who claims to be a Muslim actually understands the core meaning of being a Muslim (in all aspects of life), and thus it’s normal for those people to look at us and call us a bunch of barbarians while all that we are doing is implementing the same beliefs they claim to believe in. If they would truly understand Isla and live according to it their attitude towards us would be very different.
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