Terrorism does not pay, even if terrorists initially have a field day strutting about on the stage sowing fear in the hearts of millions around the world. Not so long ago, al-Qaeda went around carrying out its mission of murdering the innocent and threatening the world with destruction. Even now there are pockets of terror, loyal to the organisation, which keep alive the dark possibility of the merchants of death striking in different areas around the world.
As we ponder this question of terrorism, we cannot but heave a sigh of relief at the sorry but deserved end of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a remote hamlet in Syria. It was an efficient, well-planned assault by American forces which did the job. The death of the leader of ISIS, who styled himself as the caliph of the Islamic ummah and in that position went about creating fear among people everywhere in the Middle East, to a point where he drew supporters to his cause from all over the globe, hopefully brings his macabre policies to an end. We cannot but recall the gruesome manner in which the so-called Islamic State murdered hostages in the desert for reasons that simply did not exist. At the same time, there are the sordid tales of Yazidi men and boys being murdered and their women seized to provide sexual gratification to al-Baghdadi and his band of murderous men. Add to that the thousands of young people, including women, enamoured of the false promises of a perfect world of contentment under al-Baghdadi's 'caliphate', who made their way to the territory occupied by ISIS in Syria and did their part in perpetrating a hideous ideology that was as evil as it was horrible.
In these past few years, ISIS promised little more than a dissemination of hate around the world. It was hate it employed through sheer terror, to a point where, like al-Qaeda and the Taliban before it, it gave Islam a bad name. The ugliness al-Baghdadi and his adherents propagated through their reign of terror needed to be rolled back. In the past several months, through the concerted actions of such forces as the Kurds, ISIS went on suffering one blow after another. It went on losing territory, eventually reaching a position where it had nothing but a sliver of land as the Islamic state it had promised to impose on the world. As for al-Baghdadi himself, like Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, he was forced to go looking for places to hide in. On Sunday, his crimes caught up with him.
The death of al-Baghdadi is a triumph of civilised men and women over the purveyors of medieval barbarism. But even as people express relief at his end, they must remain conscious of the fact that many of his adherents, who are on the loose, must be apprehended and brought to justice. They must be hunted down as their leader was hunted down.
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