About the Author
"Ashley Perry is a senior at the University of Alabama studying Social Work and Spanish. She has interned at the Department of Defense's Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and plans to continue her studies in Human Rights at the University College of Dublin in Dublin, Ireland."

With ISIS, The West Is At War With Brazen Thuggery And Not Islam

Look at the coverage of most mainstream news outlets in the wake of the recent Brussels terrorist attacks and you’ll hear the words “Islamic extremists” or “radical Islam” multiple times.

The importance of terminology to define ISIS has been critically analyzed by professionals since the group eclipsed al-Qaeda as the foremost terror threat to the West in 2013.

The mainstream media has made ISIS synonymous with Islam without further investigation into who exactly is deemed a prime candidate for ISIS recruitment.

The brothers linked to the Brussels attacks were well known to the Belgian police for their long rap sheets of organized crime, not only because of their religious beliefs.

Seasoned criminals, the brothers were never linked to any terrorist cell or vocalized Islamic aggression prior to the Paris attacks.

Multiple media reports depict the attackers as young criminals initially looking for an illegal outlet that eventually found them emerged to deep in the terror cell, much like previous attackers whose criminal history has been recently brought to light.

Thus, the question being posed is if Islamic extremists or radical criminals accurately depict ISIS’ target recruit.

Examining ISIS methodology, one will find that Western society is directly targeted as being the reason the Middle East has endured suffering in the past.

To combat the years of self-described oppression they will commit brutal mass killings under the “convert or die” mentality in an attempt to create a worldwide Islamic State.

In juxtaposition to the religious backings behind the gruesome terrorist attacks, many Islamic leaders and followers alike have urgently condemned ISIS.

To understand that ISIS represents the Islamization of radicalism and not the radicalization of Islam, is to gain a greater understanding of whom ISIS is and why terminology matters.

The Obama administration has taken a definitive stand against defining ISIS as religious warriors for Islam.

“The notion that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie,” President Obama said last year when urging countries to view the terrorist group as rampant militants and to reject the idea this is a clash of civilizations.

ISIS is a youth revolt that attracts criminals and thugs the world over, and not just very religious Muslims. Photo Credit: rachaelvoorhees/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

ISIS is a youth revolt that attracts criminals and thugs the world over, and not just very religious Muslims. Photo Credit: rachaelvoorhees/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

To further these sentiments CIA director, John Brennan talks about ISIS members in a interesting way:

“Most — many — of them are psychopathic thugs, murderers who use a religious concept and masquerade and mask themselves in that religious construct.”

Falsely personifying ISIS members not only does a disservice to Muslims but it also feeds into the doctrine of the terrorist organization.

The more the West ostracizes Islam as a whole, the more power ISIS gains in recruiting young people in need of a purpose, and who want to watch the world burn.

Lately, waves of young Muslims have joined ISIS in search of a place of refuge in what analysts call a youth revolution.

The characterization of ISIS members as Islamic extremists walks a dangerous line between stigmatizing Islam as a religion and fueling the recruiting tactics of the terrorists.

Shifting the terminology widens the public’s knowledge on ISIS as an organization and demeans the terrorist organization’s underlining schemes of correlating Islam with their gruesome acts of violence.

We should consider it.

RISE NEWS  is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!

Cover Photo Credit: marc cornelis/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Embrace The Bern: Why Idealists Should Vote For Bernie Sanders

The cold air caressed our skin outside of Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, AL but we didn’t care. My anticipation of what was to come and the promise of the night made me forget I couldn’t feel my fingers.

Suddenly the doors opened and the crowd began to pour in slowly and then rapidly.

We held our Bernie Sanders 2016 signs with pride and acknowledged every passerby with a knowing smile. It was as if we all shared a well-kept secret.

We entered the auditorium with a communal 360 turn to fully comprehend how large the space was. In that moment a wave of anxiousness fell over me.

It would be terribly inaccurate to say that Alabama was a welcoming political atmosphere for those on the left.

With that being said, my optimism wavered in that moment to see if we would actually fill the rallying space or be left with disappointment that we were alone in a highly conservative state.

We ceased to be silent leading up to Sen. Sanders’s speech at the podium. Every yell and expressive head nod fed the flames of the masses. Before we knew it the empty space that greeted us was no more. Every seat was filled and on the floor we stood shoulder to shoulder.

Regardless of my senses being overwhelmed by my first political rally, something strange was occurring inside of me. The energy of the room began to pulsate through my body.

Regardless of my senses being overwhelmed by my first political rally, something strange was occurring inside of me. The energy of the room began to pulsate through my body.

Each speaker that came to introduce the presidential candidate spoke with eloquence and reiterated the phrase “political revolution.”

Those words appeared to flicker hope in all of us that things could be different if we stood as one.

Our restless hearts were pushed to the brink until finally the man we had been waiting for appeared from behind the curtains.

His thick Brooklyn accent was just like what we had heard the night prior on our televisions at the Democratic Debate. Smiles emerged on our faces each time we recognized his infamous one finger power point and subtle mannerisms.

The things he spoke on were issues that immediately struck chords in the audience. One rally attendee would shout in praise which would be reciprocated by all the rally attendees shouting with higher intensity.

Through his speech I kept contemplating the idea of what our nation could be. How we could grow and flourish if only the people really knew how much power they held.

Ashley Perry (R) at the Bernie Sanders rally in Birmingham, AL on Jan. 19, 2016. Photo Credit: Ashley Perry.

Ashley Perry (R) at the Bernie Sanders rally in Birmingham, AL on Jan. 19, 2016. Photo Credit: Ashley Perry.

At times I became emotional at the hot topics and the solutions he proposed. The idea of free health care and breaking up major institutions like prescription drug companies impacted me heavily.

If this man became president it would be possible that my mother and brother would no longer have to struggle to pay for the drugs that keep their pain from auto immune diseases to a minimum.

The concept of focusing on education and making it accessible to all brought tears to my eyes knowing my father never graduated from high school because of a lack of support and financial means. Sanders could make a difference so that youth in poverty don’t have to endure the struggles my father faced.

By the end of the rally, I felt a sense of enlightenment after the candidate delved into a number of thought-provoking ideas. I began wishing that all my peers could experience the power of political change.

Throughout history, proactive youths have changed governments and set new standards just by coming together as one. The things we could accomplish if we decided to care fluttered in my heart and mind.

Despite the labels of conservative or liberal, our generation holds so much influence on the world around us.

Only time will tell how the upcoming elections will pan out but the true statement of political revolution will lie in how we as young people come together to make a difference.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Bernie Sanders for President Campaign/ Facebook

Kim Badawi: The Stories Behind The Lens

With every click of his camera, Kim Badawi captures the untold stories of the human experience.

Because of a series of tweets, his role as the artful observer was reversed, thrusting him into the media spotlight and unearthing all that is to be admired about the photojournalist.

Badawi was recently traveling from Brazil to Miami to be reunited with his family and friends for the holidays. Upon entering Miami International Airport, he was detained for 10 hours without being allowed to contact his partner who was awaiting his release to board another flight.

Confused and distraught, he was forced to justify his personal contacts, emails, photos and whatsapp messages dating back to 10 years ago. He articulated the officers lacked sensitivity and reason during the investigation.

TSA officers were asked numerous times by Badawi if he needed to contact a lawyer, but they insisted that he would not be with them much longer.

After the officers discovered he was of Arab decent, they began to probe Badawi, an American citizen, about his religious practices.

“Me and my partner have suffered nightmares of being in an airport after the whole ordeal,” Badawi told Rise News. “The next day I woke up hoping that none of the things that occurred had actually happened.”

Read More: American Photojournalist Interrogated For 10 Hours In Miami Airport Because He Was Of Arab Descent

Though Badawi was unlawfully detained in the United States, he has a long history of telling narratives of those searching for freedom through his photographs.

He stumbled into photojournalism while staying with his grandparents in Egypt where coincidentally the Tahrir uprising was gaining force.

Badawi was already a well-known international photographer at the time but had little experience in journalism. His phone started to ring with calls begging for photographs on the frontlines as Egyptians revolted for a new and just government

“During the revolution, the people, especially the younger generation, really felt like anything was possible,” Badawi said.

LOOK: The Egyptian revolution through the lens of Kim Badawi

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By timing and chance, Badawi was catapulted into the world of photojournalism.

He jokes that his career has evolved through stories adventitiously unfolding once he arrives in a new country.

Recently Badawi has been developing a photography project focusing on Syrian refugees in Brazil.

The globetrotting photographer captures the sensitivity of each moment as the refugees enter and adapt to their new home. He describes the clash of two worlds as the refugees struggle with the relaxed and youthful country of Brazil that is in juxtaposition to the conservative and religious state of Syria.

Through his project, he also realized a troubling truth about the younger generation of Syria.

“They reminisce about places and people as if they were much older than they are,” Badawi said.

As Badawi tells it, for the refugees he has met, cafes, stores, and even homes that held sentimental meaning are now but distant memories of what was. Now they have found refuge in an unfamiliar country, left to pick of the pieces of their fragmented lives.

Badawi said that he understands that Syria’s past and the refugees themselves have been misrepresented in today’s media. He is hopeful that through his photography he can educate the masses through honest portrayals of what it looks and feels like to be a refugee.

Badawi may have found media attention through his unfortunate experience at the Miami airport but the real headlining story lies with how this photographer is impacting the perception of the Middle East.

Through outlets such as CNN, Le Monde, and The Wall Street Journal, Badawi has reintroduced viewers to the high intensity situations that flood the media through portraits of humans attempting to live normal lives amongst the chaos and conflict.

Have a news tip? Send it to [email protected]. Like to write? You can become a Rise News contributor.  

Can The 1975 Change The Music Industry As We Know It?

In recent months The 1975 has released their first single, “Love Me”, off of their highly anticipated sophomore album- I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It.

With Bowie-esque melodies and cheeky lyrics, the British quartet is shaking up the music industry with a valiant effort to challenge contemporary pop music. The 1975’s new single is a self parodying ode to the narcissism of fame in today’s youth culture.

Matt Healy, the front man for The 1975, begins the music video by singing, “I’m just with my friends online” while he drinks a bottle of champagne donning electric blue eye shadow.

Healy states this lyric derives from our generation’s obsession with social media and the alternate reality it ensues. If that’s not shocking enough he does this while provocatively enticing card board cut outs of pop icons.

He goes on to sing, “You look famous, let’s be friends and portray we possess something important” revealing the rock star’s sarcastic views on entitlement as a celebrity.

This poses the idea that artist and consumers alike falsely believe that celebrities possess qualities and thoughts that make them elite compared to the general population.

The in your face lyrics conclude with, “We’ve just come to represent a decline in the standards of what we accept!”

This is a direct questioning of the current principles of the music industry as we know it.

Photo Credit: 1975/ Youtube (Screengrab)

A scene from the music video for “Love Me.” Photo Credit: 1975/ Youtube (Screengrab)

Healy believes that pop music has become a brand and not about expressing genuine emotion through talent. He has articulated his want for the youth to be more critical about what they consume and what inspires them.

The band hopes to start a conversation what as a society we have let the music industry become.

Before releasing their single, The 1975 made a bold power move by deleting all of their social media accounts leaving fans and critics perplexed on the state of the band.

24 hours later, they reemerged with a new aesthetic, giving music lovers the opportunity to decide if pop artist can survive without a social media presence.

So what does witty one liners background with 80’s synth pop and social media blackouts mean for the The 1975’s music career? As listeners we’ll have to stay tuned but we’ll always be in awe of the band’s blatant disregard to music industry norms.

Cover Photo Credit: The 1975/ Facebook

American Photojournalist Interrogated For 10 Hours In Miami Airport Because He Was Of Arab Descent

Like many photojournalists, Paris-born American, Kim Badawi travels around the globe to capture moments of current events.

Upon entering Miami International Airport to travel to see family for the holidays, he did not realize that his career endeavors would land him in a 10-hour interrogation with U.S. officials.

In consecutive tweets, Badawi publically reported that he was subjected to “psychological torture” as well as “unfounded accusations.”

Though he holds a blue passport, he endured hours of questioning about his nationality, personal political stances on the Syrian refugee crisis, and potential links to any terrorists involved in the recent Paris attacks.

Once the U.S. officials detained Badawi, they confiscated his phone without allowing him to contact his partner who was frantically waiting for him to continue their connecting flight.

The U.S. officials examined every contact, email, and WhatsApp message on his phone. He claims that he was forced to explain and justify conversations and threads dating back ten years ago, particularly those having any mention of the Middle East.

During the intense interrogation session, he reported that two screens were placed in the corners of the room, blasting special reports on Muslims in France, Terrorism, and the Syrian Refugee Crisis.

Badawi stated to BuzzFeed News that he answered all questions diplomatically and was a “transparent person.”

This was referring to his belief that all information given to the officials could have been easily substantiated through a Google search of his name.

During the interrogation, Badawi’s partner inquired about his location and the evolving situation.

One official, allegedly, went as far as to claim that Badawi had never been on the flight with her prior to their arrival at the Miami airport.

After producing documentation of his boarding pass, the official reportedly expressed that Badawi’s partner did not know who Badawi was and that he was involved in “terrible things.”

Badawi is currently working on a Syrian refugee photography project that highlights the experience of refugees.

He began his photojournalism career by shooting migrant families from Mississippi to Texas after Hurricane Katrina.

According to the French-American Foundation, Badawi’s skilled photography led him around the globe to also document the Arab Spring.

Rise News reached out to Badawi and will update this story when we hear back. 

Cover Photo Credit:Kim Badawi/ Facebook (Screengrab)

H/T: Miami New Times

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