by Tayyaba Bukhari
On Thursday, July 31st AIC hosted ISIS in Iraq: Political or Religious Conflict discussion on Capitol Hill, with guest speakers Congressman Frank Wolf, Yasir Shallal, Kadhim Alwaely and Nina Shea. Executive Director and Co-founder Zainab Al-Suwaij moderated the event. The discussion focused on the struggles of religious minorities, women and whether ISIS was inherently motivated by religion or politics.
Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia’s 10th District spoke about his personal experience in Iraq, and the continuing struggles Iraqi Christians face due to lack of protection and inability to voice their opinions. Social activist Kadhim Alwaely provided a military and social activist perspective, where he demonstrated Iraq’s need for a stronger political foundation.
Founder of Aldiwan Al Iraqi, Yasir Shallal, spoke about the critical need for Iraqis to unite, despite religious affiliation, and establish a revolution against ISIS. He encouraged resistance against the terrorist group through internal efforts such as protecting the borders and having national unity. Similarly, Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom touched upon the need for protection and assistance of religious minorities in Mosul. Additionally, she believes ISIS is a religious battle that is crucial to win in the long term in order to establish social stability in Iraqi communities.
Our four distinguished speakers provided extensive knowledge and new perspectives on the growing concern of ISIS in Iraq, and thoroughly addressed the audience’s questions. We look forward to hosting more stimulating discussions on upcoming topics concerning the welfare of citizens in the Middle East.