Saturday, December 27, 2014

Man of the Moment - Jihadi John is a game changer and The Times "Briton of the Year"

Jihadi John has travelled a long way. It is not impossible that he could the year hold the balance of power in the Middle East - an astonishing achievement for this charismatic Briton.  More likely, he will fall short of winning over all the region's leaders but a continued strong ISIS showing could mean that his  appeal to traditional Muslim supporters will succeed. He champions people who feel that today‚Äôs Islamic leaders have all broken promises - his unconventional methods  may have made ISIS a less coherent political force but it has certainly made it a more popular one. A sprinkling of humour has helped - his response to critics "I'm not going to lose my head over the matter" was typical of his style.
No issue has been more important to ISIS growth than Jehadi John's faith. Whatever the public concern he blames non-Muslims. While his strong rhetoric appeals to many followers it also explains how ISIS became the world's most disliked political force in 2014. A majority of us worry about racist tendencies in ISIS and the way so many of its leaders are repeatedly exposed as sexist, homophobic or unpleasant. 
The establishment has not been able to ignore ISIS, however, whatever they may think of its more toxic members. Jihadi John's threat has forced Leaders around the world to to pay more attention to the concerns of heartland Muslims.
The year 2014 may turn out to be ISIS's high point. Next year Jehadi John could be forced from the limelight. Later he may decide to spend more time with his wives, cigarettes and pints [Ed: Are You sure about this?]. For the moment, however, no one did more to shape politics in 2014. For good and ill he is therefore The Times Briton of the Year.


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