For this week, I looked at an article by David Kirkpatrick for the New York Times that covered the recent executions of Ethiopian Christians in Libya. This new act of intimidation and cruelty is particularly concerning due to the fact that, previously, it was assumed that the Muslim militant groups in Libya were not actually associated with ISIS and were simply capitalizing on the fame of the group. However, based on the way in which the recordings were made and organized, it appears as though the threat within Libya is more sophisticated and organized than previously thought.
Beyond the implications for the significance of the ISIS presence in Libya, the video was notable because the narrator insisted that Christians were not necessarily put to death as long as they were willing to pay a tax for being Christian, similar to the caliphates of the past. However, the current actions of ISIS in stronghold areas such as Syria indicate that this may not be the case and any tax that is being collected is still extortive and unduly expensive given the poverty of the areas they occupy.
Once again, this is yet another example of how the religious conflict being fueled by ISIS in the Middle East supposedly is aimed at trying to reclaim the glory of long fallen caliphates in order to restore prosperity to the area. However, the actual actions of the militant group are ultimately destructive and benefits the leaders of the movement more so than the areas they come to control.