is the ISIS view of the Other, of non-Muslims and of heterodox, free-thinking or liberal Muslims. The hostility ISIS shows for these "polytheists, infidels, and apostates" is often shared by its Islamist rivals and enemies, even if they may not act on this hostility with quite the same bloodlust.
The ISIS zeal in marking Middle East Christians for slaughter and their communities for destruction, whether in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, or elsewhere, is a case in point. ISIS Egypt's targeting of Coptic Christians at prayer in their churches – most recently on Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017 – may seem particularly brutal and brazen, and it is.
But the ISIS actions to demonize and eliminate Christians from the region are broadly shared, less bloodily and brazenly but clearly, by a range of political players who are opposed to each other but somewhat similar in this one regard. Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, and related Salafi-jihadis, may all hate and be hated by ISIS but all share some version of a bigoted Islamist supremacist ideology that spews poison against Christians and Jews and against any Muslims too openly identifying themselves as freethinkers or secularists or liberals.
In other words, the jihadist group perceived to be the worst of the worst at any given time (Al Qaeda some years ago, ISIS today) will suck up all the attention, thereby deflecting attention away from all the other awful Islamist groups. That, in turn, gives rise to the belief--the magical thinking, really--that all will be well if and when we defeat the one entity deemed most terrible. And when we maintain such a narrow focus, we end up ignoring the global nature of jihad, which makes it that much more difficult to vanquish.These regional actors are all part of a broader social and political architecture which normalizes bigotry and internalizes hate, and which – because they are not guilt-ridden Westerners – they largely get away with in the eyes of a West desperate for Muslim allies and uncomfortable with defending Christians.