"What is wrong with just praying, fasting, reading Quran, doing a bit of charity and being a good person?" said a member from Portsmouth's Bengali community when news of Mehdi Hassan's demise became known. Clearly for Mehdi Hassan and the others who left for Syria in October 2013, it was not enough.
Contrary to the desires and interests of regional governments, arming and helping the Kurds to fight ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) in Kobane may be the trigger for the birth of a new nation - Kurdistan. No country in the region wants that but this will be one of the unintended consequences of the break up of Syria and the emergence of ISIL.
With the Middle East at yet another critical juncture and with a sense of common purpose emanating from the region, this is neither the time for straw man moralising or finger pointing. The West should don its realpolitik glasses and use Qatar's status in the area to give a nudge to the consolidation process currently taking place in the Islamic world.
While it may be more comforting to consider these men but lone wolves acting upon their own deranged ideas, that no longer seems to be the case. In this age of social media and easily accessible information in which we live, it is no longer necessary for contact to be made for a message to be passed on.
We need a non-sectarian Iraqi government and a non-sectarian response to ISIS - so say the politicians, all singing from the same hymn sheet. But it's easier said than done of course. Not least when powerful Shi'a politicians in Iraq continue to shield their religious brethren with the AK47s and a record of using them against Sunni civilians.
Smiling at me from across his dining table, Emile Cohen serves the most important reason for understanding the Jewish Iraqi experience. Last summer's Gaza war and the ongoing situation with ISIS in Iraq/Syria- means we are in a period of profound regional transformation, some of which, threatens the existence of minorities in the Middle East.