When discussing ISIS and terrorism at large, we tend to do so in a very stereotypical manner. We mention citizens of the same nations, pretending that only they are capable of committing acts of horror and terrorism. We think in terms of the geographical Middle East as if there is some sort of disease plaguing the land. President Trump banned people from this region with the support of his small-minded followers with the mindset that only Middle Eastern countries produce terrorists and that Western nations can only be victims of an external plague.
In reality, the truth is much more muddled and radical Islam, terrorism and ISIS are not confined to a single geographical region. Western countries are, in fact, producing radical terrorists which target not only Western countries, but Middle Eastern ones as well. In a recent study, it was found that the Caribbean of country of Trinidad and Tobago produced the most per capita ISIS recruitments. This statistic is shocking to most, as many are unaware that the small country exists. Although it might seem impossible, Trinidad is a very diverse country that America can take heed from.
Trinidad’s diversity results in the multiple waves of colonization from Western countries. The population is religiously diverse, with the French bringing Catholicism to the country and the English bringing Anglicanism and other forms of Protestantism. Islam is present through the African descendants, as well as the Indian descendants who reside in Trinidad, brought by English merchants in the nineteenth century. Trinidad echoes the Caribbean culture in its food, breathtaking beaches and its decorative festivals.
Currently, carnival festivals are taking place all across the Caribbean and United States before the Christian season of lent. People are most familiar with its New Orleans iteration of Mardi Gras, an indulgent free for all with beads, drinks, food and casual sex. Trinidad celebrates carnival season with parades, beach parties and feathered bikini costumes. Amidst the seasonal festivities, there are threats from those who don’t agree with the secular and sexual nature of carnival. Some conservative Muslims find carnival offensive, and have been requesting officials to stop or lessen the activity. While carnival is one seasonal festivity, some have been taking offense to the larger culture. Trinidad is known for its soca music with its provocative dance moves. Producing American stars such as Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, conservatives fear that Trinidad’s image is too trivial. Those disillusioned with Trinidad’s culture take arms with ISIS, not only with the intention of targeting their homeland, but also fighting war wherever required. And most times, this is war waged with innocent Middle Eastern civilians.
America can learn two important lessons from Trinidad, with one being that the stereotypical profile of a terrorist may not hold in the Western hemisphere and the other being that Western nations are not the immediate target of ISIS and other terrorist recruits. America likes to geographically profile terrorists, turning a blind eye to others who are just as dangerous. In light of the travel ban, terrorists may start to increase their recruitment efforts from other nations that aren’t profiled as such. Also, we need to realize that although terrorists and their recruits may be disillusioned with Western culture, their most immediate goal is to mobilize themselves in an ongoing fight. These fights aren’t necessarily occurring in their own countries, but Middle Eastern countries that are ravaged with war. Americans must realize that Western countries are just as capable in producing terrorists, and that most terrorism isn’t targeted at our shores.