I simply can't accept that those poor souls who've been decapitated by ISIS are to blame in any way apart from perhaps the fact that they happened to be in the wrong place. Please can someone help me understand this from a Buddhist point of view.
One would need to attain one of those supernatural powers that enables one to see other people's previous lives to know for sure. Anyway, the fact is that for every man whose head is chopped off, there has to be another man who carries out the gruesome act. So, ever wonder what'll be waiting for the executioner in the future life times? According to the law of kamma, he'll never be able to get away with what he did. He'll have to pay with his own head or something similar sooner or later..
Some things happen because of karma: if you intend to do something then (because of karma) that intention will result in (i.e. it will cause) effects.
I think that does not imply that everything which happens, happens because of karma.
Buddhism teaches something called 'dependent origination' or 'dependent arising'. Karma is listed as one of the causes, but it is not the cause of everything.
The principle of dependent origination underpins the concept of karma, which is an application of this principle to individual actions and their fruition. The Dalai Lama explains the relation between dependent origination and karma as follows:
Karma is one particular instance of the natural causal laws that operate throughout the universe where, according to Buddhism, things and events come into being purely as a result of the combination of causes and conditions. Karma, then, is an instance of the general law of causality. What makes karma unique is that it involves intentional action, and therefore an agent. The natural causal processes operating in the world cannot be termed karmic where there is no agent involved. In order for a causal process to be a karmic one, it must involve an individual whose intention would lead to a particular action. It is this specific type of causal mechanism which is known as karma.