Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | ISIS | radical Islam | understand | beliefs | defeat | ideology

The Atlantic: US Must Understand ISIS Religious Beliefs to Defeat It

By    |   Monday, 16 February 2015 06:45 PM

The Obama administration doesn't like to say the Islamic State (ISIS) or other terrorist groups are Muslims, but the March issue of The Atlantic lays out the case why it should.

In an article titled "What ISIS Really Wants,"  author Graeme Wood talks to ISIS sympathizers, including London imam Anjem Choudary and Australian preacher Musa Cerantonio, who explain in eloquent and learned terms over tea how the ISIS caliphate actually is a return to the original form of Islam practiced by its founder, Muhammad.

According to ISIS adherents, a caliphate — with control of land — is necessary to bringing about the end of days, and they intend to do their part. ISIS currently controls a large swath of northern Iraq and eastern Syria.

It believes a large battle with the enemies of the faith will take place in Syria and is trying to goad the United States, Turkey and other Western nations into the fight.

But in their strict interpretation of the Koran, not everyone who claims to be Muslim qualifies. Those who fail to pledge allegiance to ISIS leader and self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi are apostate and subject to death.

Wood writes that ISIS is likely trying to lure America and Turkey, which it sees as an apostate Muslim nation, into the fight to fulfill an end-times prophecy of Muhammad that true Muslims will be suffer defeats in battle and eventually be backed into a corner in Jerusalem by the anti-Messiah.

At that point, Jesus, whom Islam considers the second-greatest prophet, will return and lead them in defeat of their enemies.

Understanding all this is important, Wood writes, because it shows that ISIS is not some ragtag group without any core ideology guiding their actions. But he doesn't favor sending American troops to fight them, as he says their own rules of existence will eventually cause them to self-implode.

ISIS does not believe in national borders, and therefore refuses to sign treaties with nations and will not represent any country it defeats in the United Nations. To do so would be to put another authority above that of God, they believe.

But that hurts their ability to grow, Wood argues.

In the end, what ISIS wants isn't being hidden. The group clearly states they are building a worldwide caliphate — or Islamic government — in which everyone will be converted, subjugated or killed.

"That the Islamic State holds the imminent fulfillment of prophecy as a matter of dogma at least tells us the mettle of our opponent," Wood writes. "It is ready to cheer its own near-obliteration, and to remain confident, even when surrounded, that it will receive divine succor if it stays true to the Prophetic model."

Some potential converts might be dissuaded through argument, and military action can abate some of ISIS' terror, he said, "But for an organization as impervious to persuasion as the Islamic State, few measures short of these will matter, and the war may be a long one, even if it doesn’t last until the end of time."

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The Obama administration doesn't like to say the Islamic State (ISIS) or other terrorist groups are Muslims, but the March issue of The Atlantic lays out the case why it should.
ISIS, radical Islam, understand, beliefs, defeat, ideology
Monday, 16 February 2015 06:45 PM
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