This Ramadan, the worst fears of many Muslims have come to life, as attacks spiked during the holy month in Muslim regions. Many blame the attacks in Iraq, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. But no matter the location, all the ISIS attacks during Ramadan this year prove that the terrorist organization kills more Muslims than any other single group of people.
The reasoning behind ISIS and their "admirers" attacking other Muslims is rooted in the inter-Islam conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims. The Sunni-aligned ISIS is known for its hatred of Shiites, and targets Muslims whose beliefs differ from theirs in an attempt to control the region. 2016 was not the first year that witnessed Islamic State violence against Muslims during Ramadan. During the same time last year, there were attacks in Syria, Somalia, France, Kuwait, and Tunisia during a single day in June, now known as "Bloody Friday" (which coincided with the anniversary of the Islamic State's declaration of their "caliphate" or kingdom), which resulted in hundreds of deaths. Here's a rundown of all the ISIS attacks during Ramadan in 2016.
On July 2, a car bomb exploded in a busy shopping area in Iraq's capital of Baghdad, killing and injuring hundreds of people flocking to buy gifts and clothes for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr celebrations for the end of Ramadan. The Baghdad death toll has reached 250, which reporters are calling the deadliest attack since the invasion of Iraq by American forces in 2003.
Also on July 2, nearly 3,000 miles and half a continent away, terror was also unfolding in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The night prior, gunmen entered the upscale Holey Artisan Bakery and took hostages. By the time Bangladeshi military were able to enter the building and take down the gunmen, 20 people had been killed and dozens more wounded. They were able to save 13 people. A harrowing account from within the cafe shows the horror witnesses and their families experienced.
Three areas in Saudi Arabia were the targets of violence over a period of 24 hours, culminating in attacks near the Prophet Muhammad's Mosque in the holy city of Medina on July 4 which killed four people. The two other attacks, one near the U.S. consulate in the city Jeddah and the other at a Shiite mosque in Qatif, had no casualties other than the suicide bombers. Since the Medina attacks, many Muslims have said that the attacks on Medina prove that ISIS are not Muslims, because attacking the second-holiest city in Islam is an egregious sacrilege.
On June 28, attackers at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul killed 44 people. Turkish officials say they've identified numerous suspects, and although ISIS hasn't publicly taken credit for the attacks, Turkish intelligence told CNN that they have reason to believe the attacks were planned by ISIS operatives from the former Soviet Union.
42 people were killed on June 27 during an underreported attack in Mukalla, a large city in Yemen. The majority were soldiers, but there was also one child who happened to be walking by. CNN reported that Yemen has become "a proxy battleground for Saudi Arabia and Iran" (which are majority Sunni and Shiite, respectively).
June 27 also saw violence in Qaa, Lebanon, in the Mediterranean country's majority-Christian Baqaa Valley region in the north, near the country's Syrian border. Six people were killed and 19 were wounded by three separate suicide bombings.
More than 350 people were killed in suspected ISIS attacks in Muslim regions during Ramadan this year alone. I can only hope that people in the West will finally see that ISIS doesn't represent Islam, and that Islamophobic scare tactics by political candidates and pundits only hurts those whom these terrorists already aim to kill.