Islamic State (IS) is a radical Islamist group that has seized large swathes of territory in eastern Syria and across northern and western Iraq.
Its brutal tactics - including mass killings and abductions of members of religious and ethnic minorities, as well as the beheadings of soldiers and journalists - have sparked fear and outrage across the world and prompted US military intervention.
What does IS want?
The group aims to establish a “caliphate”, a state ruled by a single political and religious leader according to Islamic law, or Sharia.
Although currently limited to Iraq and Syria, IS has promised to “break the borders” of Jordan and Lebanon and to “free Palestine”. It attracts support from Muslims across the world and demands that all swear allegiance to its leader - Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai, better known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Militant Islam has been at war with non-Muslims/Christianity for about 1500 years now. Do not expect any quick resolution to this conflict. What we can hope for is for secular and moderate Muslims to gain the upper hand against the militants.
The uncomfortable question there, however, is whether “militant” Islam is true Islam, and “secular and moderate” Muslims do not so much represent their faith, or represent the widespread tendency of all people in any faith to ignore many of the tenants of their faith.
Islam started out at war with all non Islamic faiths, and its spread was by the sword. If we assume that this early history isn’t representative of it, we ignore its history in the very era of its founder, a dangerous thing to do. If we hope for “secular and moderate” Muslims to gain an upper hand, we have to also implicitly hope for a major doctrinal development in that faith which has heretofore not occurred in any manner which has gained widespread acceptance amongst the Islamic faithful…
A good article on ISIL’s goals, and its view of the Caliphate it has proclaimed (including some information on the individual declared to be the Caliph) can be found in the current issue of The New Republic.
I had been meaning to share this link since I discovered it yesterday but I was waiting for a good opportunity to do so. I feel like this is a good opportunity to do so. This link contains an interview with Fr. Samir Khalil Samir who is a Jesuit priest and a Catholic scholar of Islam. Here is the article’s own one line summary of the article:
A leading Catholic scholar of Islam analyzes why the Islamic militants have been so successful — and how they can be combatted.
So anyway, I thought it was a pretty good article and I honestly feel that Islam needs to have some serious reform. Fr. Samir in the article discusses ways of reforming Islam. I think it would be good for Muslims to pursue these methods of reforming Islam.
That said, while I do think that Islam needs to be reformed, I also believe that the Catholic Church alone has the fullness of the Truth and I hope and pray that more Muslims will be converted to Christ and His Church.
For the West to defeat this Islamism it must do and realize a few things:
It must be willing to fight and defeat Islamism on the field of battle and in other arenas;
It must be confident and proud of its own culture and history and not apologize or try to rewrite history in a politically correct manner;
And it must encourage its citizens to get married and have children, not just dogs and cats.
There’s a lot else that will be required. But these will serve as necessary first steps.
Indeed, it has been a long battle, as it’s been running off and on since the 7th Century. Not always on, to be sure, and with huge gaps when its not occurring, but the root of the violence is in the root of Islam, and as long as there’s an “un-reformed” Islam, we will see these efforts.
Excellent Register article, tapping into our (western) contribution to this through our loss of Faith and immorality.
Indeed, we’re tying to combat a misguided religious faith, while at the same time we fuel that faith be becoming increasingly depraved in our own societies. And to add to that, the weakening of faith throughout the western world is causing some of those looking for it to join these very groups.
It’s no wonder that westerners join these groups, including people with no native cultural tie to Islam. Take England for example. What’s the competing native religious draw? The Church of England? Ripping itself apart and accommodating itself to things clearly outside the natural law, no wonder Islam is finding fruitful ground for recruitment.
I was introduced to the theory, accepted amongst many orientalists in the 20th century, that modern jihad is rooted in a reaction of young Muslims to the decadence and corruption of the West and their Western influenced national leaders which leads to a desire to return to a state run by Sharia; by the writings of Bernard Lewis. The goal of this type of jihad being to eradicate Western influence and replace it with a state run by different types of Sharia law (mostly strict but somewhat benevolent.) That was certainly the case with the Muslim Brotherhood and its direct off-shoots (e.g., Hamas, al-Qaeda, parts of the Taliban) and the followers of Ali Khamenei in Iran.
However, I am not sure that is the motivating force of groups like ISIS. They are attacking fellow Muslims, even those who are not heavily influenced by the West. They want their own particular form of Wahhabi Islam followed, and if they are in an area where it is not followed they will fight all those around them until they overtake them and convert or kill them. This is a different form of the jihad and one that is very reminiscent of the type of jihad exercised during the early caliphates. The motivation is primarily to spread the faith.
It is difficult to believe that the primary concern of the Islamists has ever been western sexual decadence. Even with the 911 terrorists, there were reports of some of the suicide bombers attending strip clubs in the days leading up to their ‘martyrdoms.’
Instead even what the founders of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamists in general particularly loathe is the idea that females are free in the West. Western decadence is not defined by males being free to do whatever they like sexually, but by the freedom of women to make their own choices in life independent of men.
Western decadence as seen by Islamists, and as is common prejudice among non-Western Muslims in general, is that western women are mainly whores, and as such may be treated as whores by Muslim men. They have no problem being a part of the western decadence in that way. The Islamists has no problem treating western women as such, while jealously guarding their rights to sequester their own women from the outside world, and ensure that they as men remain the kings of their own domestic domain, no matter how small.
I would say that the vast majority of the women in the West are not whores, but live their lives morally. The independence of women in the West won by feminism is not decadent, but a realization of the goals of the Christian gospel of those who were last becoming first, (and those first last), as the social revolution of Christ continues to transform society in his image.
Of course, because we are all sinners, greater freedom opens us up to greater freedom to sin too. The Christian message of ‘go and sin no more’ is more important than it ever was, even as its influence is waning.
But no one ought to mistake the message of the Islamists as a good moral alternative. There message has been that anyone who is not a Muslimah is worthy of whoredom, and the ranks of ISIL and el quada are filled with men quite willing to treat women as such.
I think anyone with a general knowledge of that area could make up a definition of IS, Islamic State.
It certainly is interesting that there is the history of polygamy, female genital mutilation but also, there does indeed exist belly dancing. I certainly could never say but some articles on the web say men can practice this as well.
Very sad what is going on in the Middle East. ISIS now is suffering from a row of defeats, the world got alarmed, the Iraqis might get some military advice, apparent assistance in Syria and despite the grisly video events, ISIS is on its backfoot, they even suffered heavily casualties according to some press sources in a recent battle.
Though KSA, Saudi Arabia is very strict and perhaps some other locales, I got the impression that one could go to Egypt and other places and restrictions were much looser in that part of the world.
IS are driven by their teachings, found in the Quran, together with their role model prophets example. They have one objective, in line with Islamic doctrine which is to rid the world of unbelief, until all submit to Allahs laws, and use his prophet Mohammed, as their best example for humanity.
These teachings are said to come from divine origins, some would even have us believe, the same divine origins that gave us the Bible. On further inspection however, this proves not to be the case, as both teachings are diametrically opposed to each other.
What is IS?
Devout Muslims, putting their faith into action the way their scriptures, and role models example tells them how.
Followers of various religions—Christian and non-Christian—sometimes behave in ways that discredit their religion in the eyes of the world. On the Catholic Answers Forums, we expect members to avoid condemning an entire religion, and/or all of its followers, because of the evil deeds of a few. Please review the following forum guidelines when discussing other religions on CAF.
Members are not allowed to denigrate people of other religions, speak scornfully about other religions, or speak of other religions in inflammatory terms (e.g., calling a religion a “religion of war”). If a member does so in violation of these rules, he or she will generally be counseled first and suspended if he or she persists in inflammatory postings.
At the risk of straying where I should not tread, I wonder if Catholic Answers itself observes this rule?
Catholic Answers has featured Robert Spencer, the author of Not Peace, But A Sword, on its radio show many times. Mr. Spencer is clearly of the belief that the Koran argues for the armed expansion of Islam. And I’d note that on the Catholic blogosphere right now he’s not alone in that view. Even the Egyptian Jesuit quoted in the article above stated:
We hear, very often, Muslims say: ‟This has nothing to do with Islam.” This is a spontaneous reaction of Muslims on the street. But, in fact, it’s a false reaction. This is a part of Islam, and we can find it in the Quran itself and much more in the life of Mohammed, who had a very strong and violent attitude toward unbelievers.
Mohammed was somewhat tolerant towards Jews and Christians. But he was absolutely intolerant to those who were neither Jews nor Christians. The only solution for them in the Quran and in the life of Mohammed was to convert or die.
So these fanatics are following this line, with one difference: They call ‟unbeliever” (kāfir) anyone who is not like them, even the Shia, the Yazīdi or the Christian. In this case, the fanatics are not following the Quran and the sunnah [a Muslim way of life based on the teachings of Mohammed and the Quran]. But when they say, ‟We have to kill unbelievers, unless they become Muslim,” this is part of the teaching of Islam.
The main thing to note is that violence is an element of Islam. Violence is not an element of Christianity. When Christians were using violence in wars and so on, they were not following the Gospel, nor the life of Christ. When Muslims are using it, they are following the Quran and the sunnah and Mohammed’s model. This is a very important point.
Muslims have to rethink Islam for today’s world. We have a similar problem in Christianity, Judaism and in all religions. In the Old Testament, we have a lot of violence: When Jews entered the so-called Holy Land, they used violence under order of God, not because they were fanatics, but because God ordered it. They had to use it, and when they refused, they were sinners.
Now, I do not wish to get myself in trouble with the moderator here, but at the top of the page I’m reading right now, there’s a request that we buy magnets “for Chaldean Catholics suffering from Islamic tyranny in Iraq”. Is the ad in violation of this policy.
I surely agree that not every Muslim is an evil person, and I hope for the day when, if they don’t come to Christ, it will at least be the overwhelming Islamic theological view that calls to struggle in the Koran are to spiritual struggle. No doubt there are many who interpret it that way now. No doubt the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not violent. Indeed, as most Muslims are not Arabs, and most Korans are in Arabic, I suspect that the majority of Muslims only have a loose knowledge of their own faith, a statement which would also be true for most Christians of any denomination. Indeed, most people of any faith are only loosely observant.
And we have the majority rule example that most observant Muslims aren’t violent and don’t feel a call to violence.
Nonetheless, while I appreciate the nature of this warning, I do wonder if we do our Faith credit if we discourage what our own clerics have noted about Islamic texts, and what more than one guest on Catholic Answers radio has noted, and I hope this isn’t intended to preclude all such conversation. I.e., can we discuss the root causes of what this violent Islamic minority movement represents, or is that off limits?