ISIS really is Islamic — get over it!

According to the logic of a few boneheads, if ISIS is Islamic, then the real problem isn’t with ISIS — it’s with Islam.

To refute that logic by refusing to call ISIS Islamic, is equally boneheaded, since it implies that conceding ISIS’s Islamic roots will inevitably then tarnish all Muslims.

Asra Q. Nomani and Hala Arafa write: At the White House summit on “countering violent extremism,” President Obama declared that violent jihad in the name of Islam isn’t the work of “religious leaders” but rather “terrorists.” American-Muslim leaders, attending the summit, cheered and applauded, later taking selfies in front of the president’s seal.

But, as liberal Muslim feminist journalists who reject the vision of the Islamic State, we can say that the Islamic State, al Qaeda and the alphabet soup of Islamic militant groups, like HUM (Harkut-ul Mujahideen) and LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba), rely very much on the scholarship of “religious leaders,” from Ibn Tamiyyah in the 14th century to Sayyid Qutb in the 20th century, who very much have credibility and authority among too many Muslims as “religious leaders.”

A very nuanced and thorough Atlantic article by journalist Graeme Wood this week, arguing “The Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic,” set off a firestorm of “derision,” as labeled by an article at ThinkProgress, a media site affiliated with the Center for American Progress, a think tank started by former Democratic operative John Podesta. ThinkProgress religion reporter Jack Jenkins wrote that the Atlantic article elicited “staunch criticism and derision from many Muslims and academics who study Islam.”

Wood argues the Islamic State views itself as “a key agent of the coming Apocalypse.” He is absolutely right, and we have been seeing the symbols for months. After spending about 200 hours combined over the last few weeks, analyzing every word and symbol in the burning video of the Jordanian Air Force pilot and the execution video of the Coptic Christians, we can tell you that both videos reveal Islamic State strategists, propagandists and recruiters are very much grounded in a logical interpretation of the Quran, the hadith, or sayings and traditions of the prophet Muhammad, and fatwa, or religious rulings. [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “ISIS really is Islamic — get over it!

  1. Óscar Palacios

    It looks like ISIS goes for a literal interpretation of their holy texts, and that’s about the major difference between them and other Muslims which are quite devout and serious about their religion. Christians and Catholics don’t do that literal interpretation stuff. On several occasions, when discussing religion with Christians/Catholics, I like to invite them to secretly worship Tláloc, the Aztec rain god. I then suggest that they read Deuteronomy 13:6-10, which states:

    6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. 9 You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

    So far I haven’t been stoned to death. In these discussions I point out that the Bible contains some very unuseful (to say the least) parts. If I went to an ISIS-like Christian group, they would certainly stone me to death.

    So as far as I’m concerned, that’s the basic difference.

  2. Paul Woodward Post author

    It depends which Christians you’re referring to, Oscar. America’s Christians are predominantly of a pre-scientific outlook and take the Bible quite literally — Earth created in six days less than 10,000 years ago.

    When the Bible believers come to my door telling me the Good Book contains all I will ever need to know, I ask them to refer me to the passages that describe the functions of DNA, but have yet to be offered a satisfactory explanation about why this tome of wisdom contains no such information. I then ask them whether they believe in the existence of DNA and without exception everyone has said yes, thus revealing an almost capricious way in which the findings of science can be selected or rejected.

    Then I ask the most pointed question, telling them I’m an atheist: How would you feel if I came to your door and tried to ram my views down your throat?

    I guess this is my core belief: that one person has no right to impose their beliefs on another. People who believe what they are told to believe, deprive themselves of the opportunity to develop their own minds. They employ brittle cognitive structures that have no real foundations. They grasp their ideas tightly because they don’t know how to think.

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