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As I write, the Jordanian air force is bombing ISIS positions in Syria, ostensibly in retaliation for the Nazi-like killing of one of its pilots last week. A photo on the Daily Mail website shows a Jordanian patriot writing a message on a bomb in marker pen (an American tradition) before the vessel that will carry it takes flight. His message reads as follows: “For you, the enemies of Islam”.
I have a feeling Liberals will waste no time in circulating that image. After all, it paints a rather pleasant, reassuring picture. The insinuation is that ISIS (and by logical extension, all radical Jihadis) are just a deviation from the true practice and theory of the Islamic religion.
I’m afraid we must pour water on this hopeful notion. It’s not only wrong but dangerous to believe. Despite the claims of the majority, Islamic State/ISIS are entirely faithful to Islamic teaching and (even at some very brutal extremes) rarely in direct violation of the commandments of the Qur’an itself.
The very video which depicts the burning of the Jordanian pilot is titled “Healing the Believers’ Chests”. If that sounds archaic, that’s probably because it is a direct reference to a Qur’anic verse – chapter 9, verse 14:
“Fight them! Allah will chastise them at your hands, and He will lay them low and give you victory over them, and He will heal the chests of those who are believers.”
If ISIS are not Islamic, or are somehow acting in deviation from the true word of Allah, how might that verse be construed differently? What have they got wrong? To me, it seems pretty self-explanatory, like most of the Qur’an. If I might be permitted to update the language of the verse and make it even less ambiguous, it seems to say
“Fight against the unbelievers and kill the infidel! God will support you from the heavens and ultimately grant you victory, healing the wounds of the faithful.”
What have I got wrong? No doubt, I have taken it ‘out of context’. Yes, that sounds believable enough. Perhaps there’s a ‘context’ in which the exhortation has a less offensive, even defensive character.
However none of the battles described in the Qur’an would have been possible were it not for Islamic provocation. The brave heathens, Christians and Jews of the Arabian peninsula who sought to retain their cultural traditions were themselves acting defensively. The language of Jihad, that is of violent conquest, was openly used by the early believers, and by Mohammad himself.
The sharia law being enforced by ISIS in the territory under its control is also far from unorthodox. Not just in the IS but in Saudi Arabia and Iran, women are forced to conceal their beauty to spare men the dilemma of whether or not to rape them. In many Muslim countries adulterers, blasphemers and libertines are subject to the death penalty, whether enacted with stone, axe or rope. In many countries, thieves have parts of their body crudely amputated (usually before a gathered crowd). ISIS might be overzealous in enforcing these laws, but they are in no way different in their motivation or understanding of Islam.
So if you want to be taken at all seriously, don’t deny ISIS are Islamic. It’s no longer feasible, if it ever was to begin with.