An unpardonable act of terrorism
A video released on Saturday by Islamic terrorist group the Islamic State (ISIS) claiming that it has killed Haruna Yukawa, one of two Japanese hostages held by the group, stunned Japan and the rest of the world. The video showed his fellow captive, journalist Kenji Goto, holding a photograph of a beheaded Yukawa. Japan and the United States could not verify the authenticity of the video or killing, but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said with his voice shaking that “the probability of it being real was high.” He condemned the act of terrorism, saying it was unforgivable and demanded the release of the other hostage. U.S. and British leaders joined the chorus of condemnation. Killing a civilian cannot be justified. The international community must join forces to contain brutal terrorist acts by the group.
The militants that now have solidified forces in both Syria and Iraq are a terrorist group criticized by the United Nations and governments, including those of mainstream Muslim societies. ISIS is responsible for various terrorist attacks, civilian killings, and violent ethnic cleansing. It executed American and British aid workers and journalists and circulated videos of the murders and bodies. The United States has attacked ISIS-occupied territories in Syria and Iraq but the group has only expanded its influence, already controlling half of the territories in the two states. Some blame the void of power in Iraq after the pullout of U.S. forces for emboldening the group. But its medieval brutality and ransom demands for civilian hostages have been met with disgust and condemnation internationally.
The group is expanding its power beyond the Middle East. About 15,000 people from 82 countries are estimated to have joined the militant group. One South Korean teenager who went missing in Turkey has been traced near the border with Syria in attempts to join the group.
No country can be entirely free from the reaches of the extremely violent Islamic group. The Seoul government must actively join international efforts to fight ISIS and toughen safety protections for workers in the Middle East. Korean nationals also should be extra careful when travelling in dangerous countries. The case of the two Japanese hostages shows that Asia too faces the dangers of extreme Islamic terrorism. JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 26, Page 30