Humanising the Dehumanised: Emotion and Being in the Violence of the Islamic State (IS): An Alternative Perspective
This paper considers the effect of violence on the emotions of IS fighters and the resultant consequences of those emotions as a factor in their choice to use violence. By interrogating the human aspect of the fighters, I am focusing not on religion but on human agency as a factor in the violence. In this regard, this paper is about reorienting the question about the violence of IS not as “religious” violence but as a response to how these fighters perceive what is happening to them and their homeland. It is about politicising the political, about the violence of the state and its coalition of killing as opposed to a consistent effort to frame the violence into an explanation of “extremist religious ideology.” This shift in analysis is significant because of the increasing harm that is caused by the rise in Islamophobia where all Muslims are considered “radical” and are dehumanised. This is by no means a new project; rather it reflects the ongoing project of distortion of and animosity toward Islam, the suspension of ethics and the naturalisation of war. It is about an advocacy for war by hegemonic powers and (puppet regimes) states against racialised groups in the name of defending liberal values. Furthermore, the myth of religious violence has served to advance the goals of power which have been used in domestic and foreign policy to marginalise and dehumanise Muslims and to portray the violence of the secular state as a justified intervention in order to protect Western civilisation and the secular subject.