Thursday, November 5, 2015

Don't Be Misled: ISIS Is Islamic

According to a new book about ISIS (it's called The ISIS Apocalypse and is discussed here), ISIS jihadis aren't terribly, well, Islamic. What motivates these lads, says author William McCants, isn't chapter and verse of the Koran. It's the appeal of waging the war to end all wars, the one that will bring about the end-times apocalypse.

Which, sorry, strikes me as yet another attempt to red pencil the Islam out of ISIS.

I think this explanation re what ISIS is after is more accurate:
We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. Peter Bergen, who produced the first interview with bin Laden in 1997, titled his first book Holy War, Inc. in part to acknowledge bin Laden as a creature of the modern secular world. Bin Laden corporatized terror and franchised it out. He requested specific political concessions, such as the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia. His foot soldiers navigated the modern world confidently. On Mohamed Atta’s last full day of life, he shopped at Walmart and ate dinner at Pizza Hut. 
There is a temptation to rehearse this observation—that jihadists are modern secular people, with modern political concerns, wearing medieval religious disguise—and make it fit the Islamic State. In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.

So, yes, their vision is apocalyptic, but it is grounded in and inspired by the words of Islam's sacred texts. We are misled by those who contend otherwise.

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