There can be no greater contrast between humanity’s capacity for peace and its aptitude for depravity than the disparate work of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and the vicious behavior of ISIL terrorists. New reports of ISIL brutalizing the people -- in particular, women and girls -- under its control in Syria and Iraq, underscore the stark difference between those who work toward our common humanity and those who seek to destroy it.
On October 10, the Nobel Committee announced that two brave activists would share the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize: Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old Pakistani girl who survived a 2012 assassination attempt by the Taliban to become a tireless advocate for girls’ education; and 60-year-old Kailash Satyarthi from India, who for three decades has fought to rescue and educate children working as slave laborers -- saving thousands of boys and girls from exploitation and trafficking.
In congratulating these two Nobel laureates, President Barack Obama noted that both “have faced down threats and intimidation, risking their own lives to save others and build a better world for future generations.”
These brave heroes stand in stark contrast to the terror group ISIL, whose fighters use a distorted, pseudo-religious message to justify the barbaric treatment of women and children in the territories it has conquered.
Hundreds of Islamic clerics have spoken out against ISIL’s perversion of Islam, refuting its religious arguments and denouncing the actions of ISIL militants. In a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry condemned ISIL’s “abduction, enslavement, rape, forced marriage and sale of several thousand Yezidi and other minority women and girls – some as young as 12 years old. Just as despicably,” Secretary Kerry said, “ISIL rationalizes its abhorrent treatment of these women and girls by claiming it is somehow sanctioned by religion. Wrong,” he said. “Dead wrong. Islam does not condone or honor such depravity.” The individuals who perpetrate such crimes, Secretary Kerry insisted, must be identified and held fully accountable.
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize laureates, who celebrate and support the worth of every individual, especially those most vulnerable, and ISIL’s assault on human dignity have made clear two distinct paths. The United States is fully committed to supporting voices of moderation and peace and to defeating movements such as ISIL who viciously abuse the vulnerable.