Why I’ll Probably Never Join ISIS

There were a lot of headlines in the news a couple of weeks ago when the cops arrested two Brooklyn men who were planning on joining ISIS. Up until then I’ve always thought about ISIS as this distant menace. Dangerous? Sure. But a really faraway type of dangerous, no more of a threat to my life than a brutal Siberian winter, or one of those microscopic Amazon fish that swims up your urethra and sets up shop in your bladder.

But my worldview was upended when I heard that ISIS was recruiting right here in New York. Right in my backyard! To think that ISIS might be a lot closer than I’d thought, it’s got me looking over my shoulder, questioning everybody. Could I have shared a subway ride with a secret member of ISIS? Who knows? What if some guy on the street asks if he can borrow my cell phone, and I say yes, and it turns out that he’s using my number to get in touch with ISIS? Will the feds believe me when I insist that they’ve got the wrong guy?

What’s worse is, while I hate to imagine that I’ve even accidentally had contact with ISIS here in New York, I’m even more terrified of the possibility that I might be targeted as a possible recruit. No, I don’t want to join ISIS, and I want to make that very clear. But what if ISIS simply won’t take no for an answer?

This has all got me thinking, my imagination is running laps. No I don’t see myself ever joining ISIS, but I’ve made bold proclamations in the past that I’ve failed to live up to. Like that time I got caught taking a bite out of someone’s sandwich in the office kitchen. I promised, I said, “I swear I’ll never eat anyone else’s lunch again.” And then two days later this guy Terry brings in this leftover jerk chicken his mom made over the weekend. How could I resist?

The hard truth is, can I honestly look in the mirror and promise myself that I’ll never join ISIS? Ever? I’d like to say yes. But since when do any of us live in a world of total absolutes? So I guess instead of committing myself to empty promises, I’ll just say this: I’ll probably never join ISIS.

I mean, if joining ISIS were on the table, and that’s a huge if, I wouldn’t just sign my name on the dotted line. No, ISIS would have to make a series of radical changes before I’d even consider coming aboard. For starters, they’d have to completely turn over a new leaf in terms of the whole jihad thing. Listen, I’m not claiming to be representative of the entire US workforce, but ISIS, if you want more Americans to think about signing up, you’re going to have to pull back on the whole war against the infidel, big time.

So no more jihad, that’s just the start. While we’re talking about institutional changes, I think we’ve got to get rid of, what’s his name, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? Yeah, he’s got to go. American recruits aren’t going to stand for the same old misguided leadership. All of the violence, and the war, come on, if this guy remains in power, how much can we ever expect ISIS to really change? Abu, if you’re still in charge, there’s no way that I’d ever even think about joining ISIS.

With no jihad and no caliph running the show, ISIS would find itself without direction. That’s why, if I were thinking about joining ISIS, I’d want to join an ISIS committed to world peace and global harmony. It’s a tall order, sure, and again, I can only speak for myself, but there’s no way I’d join an ISIS that wasn’t fully prepared to engage the world in a proactive, helpful way. Because let’s be honest, all of the war and the storming of Tikrit, and trying to recapture Mosul, it’s getting a little stale.

Also, I’m not moving to the Middle East. That’s a non-negotiable. I’ve got a pretty good thing going for me here in New York. I just think it would be an insurmountable logistical challenge for me to try to uproot everything and start over in the tribal area in between Iraq and Syria. Plus, I’m really afraid of scorpions and sand flies. I just don’t think it would work out.

Finally, and there’s no easy way to bring this up, but we’ve got to talk salary and benefits. I’m looking for something not only commensurate with my level of experience, but I’d ideally be looking for a package that stays ahead of market rate. And benefits: how much would I be contributing to healthcare? Are you going to offer a free cafeteria like they do at Google? What about on-site childcare? Just some perks you might want to think about if you’re going to start aggressively pursuing the American employee.

Like I said, I understand that ISIS isn’t about to radically alter its mission, and that’s why I’m pretty confident in saying that I probably won’t ever be looking to join the Islamic State. But if you’re serious about meeting all of my demands, well, it would be hard to pass up an opportunity to join a well-rounded organization committed to fostering a global sense of peaceful awareness. And that benefit package. Who’d be able to say no? TC mark

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