I've had several people ask me what exactly the black and gold patch that I sell means. To me, the patch has dual meanings. The patch displays the Arabic symbol "nun" (pronounced noon). Reports from areas within Iraq that are occupied by the Islamic State indicate that IS labels the seized houses of Christian Iraqis with this letter to denote the seizure of their property by the "State." Reports from over six months ago lead many observers to believe that over 3,000 Christians have been driven from Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. Given the age of these reports, it is safe to assume many more have been driven out of other areas since.
Across social media, many changed their profile pictures to the "nun" to show their solidarity with Iraq's Christians, and with good reason. The persecution has drawn condemnation from not only Christian leaders, but from Muslim leaders across the Middle East.
Beyond the show of Christian solidarity, there is a bigger principle in this patch. IS has demonstrated a clear willingness to persecute, torture, and murder anyone who does not agree with their worldview. It really doesn't matter to them what religion or political ideal you follow - if you don't follow their specific belief system, you deserve death. They have demonstrated this consistently through their messaging, including their most recent recruitment videos that encourage Western recruits to conduct attacks in their own countries instead of traveling to Syria and Iraq. In a video featuring British hostage John Cantlie, a French IS member urges people to “start carrying out individual attacks, be wolves on earth, for each man among you can be an entire army.” One of the gunmen in the Paris kosher market attack, Amedy Coulibaly, had sworn allegiance to IS.
The gold element of the patch (the "nun") is a tribute to both the Christians that it originally designated and all those that are suffering under extremists as well as a recognition that we are targets for these extremists. The black shield demonstrates a desire to protect our fellow citizens. IS has yet to attempt to carry out an attack in a Western country that allows its citizens to carry firearms in public. If we as a people remain vigilant and exercise our rights, we can make ourselves and our fellow citizens much harder targets for the extremists in the world.
X Echo 1 is a 10 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US.