Sunday, December 07, 2014
ISIS is a teaching moment
One of the good things about ISIS is that it confirms everything the counter-jihadi movement has been saying about Islam. Everything Robert Spencer says about Islamic theology, al-Baghdadi confirms. Everything Pamela Geller plasters on the side of buses about jihad, ISIS follows through with an example. Every warning we posted here at Infidel Bloggers Alliance came true in the Islamic State. ISIS is Islam.
It was only a year or two ago that the news media hysterically condemned Geller's bus ads about the meaning of jihad. Critics right and left blasted Geller's ads against jihad as bigoted statements on Islam. With the rare exception of the New York Post, most media reports brand her as a "Anti-Muslim hate monger" merely for exposing jihad. By early 2013 it became apparent that the public accepts that jihad means war and the campaign to turn the word into "a general striving" was lost in the public discourse.
Enter ISIS. Virtually every newspaper describes ISIS as jihadists. There is no other word that sums up this group and its activities. It's in lead paragraphs and headlines. The very same newspapers that damned Geller for saying that jihadists are savage now write that jihadists are savage when talking about ISIS. Yes, newspapers continue to push propaganda, such as the document signed by 126 Islamic authorities that condemned ISIS as not being Islamic or engaging in jihad. What they don't report is that this group is basically Sufis who carry no weight with serious Muslims. Still the word jihadist is universally applied to ISIS; even Wikipedia uses it as a defining characteristic in its lead paragraph.
This brings us to the next lesson. ISIS is a bona fide variant of Islam. Indeed it is the most straight forward read of Islam's core texts. Is the media willing to entertain this idea? In September, Thomas Friedman was willing to explain that ISIS is a branch of Saudi Salafist teaching but not yet willing to call it Islam. It was still insinuated that it is a perverted form of Islam. Today, however, he moves forward.
In an article titled "How ISIS Drives Muslims From Islam" Friedman tells us that ISIS is turning Muslims away from Islam because ISIS is Islam. Some Muslims are only condemning Shariah or Shariah with political backing but others are openly declaring their atheism. Friedman writes:
"Ismail Mohamed, an Egyptian on a mission to create freedom of conscience there, started a program called “Black Ducks” to offer a space where agnostic and atheist Arabs can speak freely about their right to choose what they believe and resist coercion and misogyny from religious authorities. He is part of a growing Arab Atheists Network. For Arab news written by Arabs that gets right in the face of autocrats and religious extremists also check out freearabs.com."
Brother Rachid, a Moroccan convert to Christianity writes an open letter to Obama:
"Dear Mr. President, I must tell you that you are wrong about ISIL. You said ISIL speaks for no religion. I am a former Muslim. My dad is an imam. I have spent more than 20 years studying Islam. ... I can tell you with confidence that ISIL speaks for Islam. ... ISIL’s 10,000 members are all Muslims. ... They come from different countries and have one common denominator: Islam. They are following Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in every detail. ... They have called for a caliphate, which is a central doctrine in Sunni Islam. ... I ask you, Mr. President, to stop being politically correct — to call things by their names. ISIL, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabab in Somalia, the Taliban, and their sister brand names, are all made in Islam."
This in the New York Times! Friedman ends by writing that some Muslims are "fed up with being patronized by politically correct Westerners telling them what Islam is not and with being tyrannized by self-appointed Islamist authoritarians telling them what Islam is." Others are leaving ... perhaps not in droves but it is clear that the ugliness of Islam isn't hidden anymore nor can it be dismissed as a perversion by a few "hijackers" in the hills of Afghanistan. ISIS is Islam. And that's becoming harder to deny.
They wouldn't listen to us ... but ISIS is loud and clear.