BLOG 254 May 25, 2015
ISIS (The Islamic State) has not slowed down in its military efforts. In addition to taking the Iraqi city of Ramadi just days ago, they have now captured the ancient town of Palmyra inside Syria. Apparently, the Syrian soldiers fled just as the Iraqi army did earlier. While President Obama maintains American air power is stopping ISIS, the battlefield reports certainly do not support this contention at this time.
Because Palmyra is an ancient city, the world is terrified that ISIS will continue the cultural genocide that destroyed ancient and great treasures inside Iraqi. Why would they perform such terrible destruction?
As noted in last week’s blog, ISIS is fighting a holy war, a religious crusade to win the world to Islam or make civilization bow in submission. ISIS maintains that these great sites from antiquity are pagan remnants that must be destroyed in order to maintain religious purity. As noted earlier, ISIS is fully an expression of medieval Islam.
For example, they support the practice of takfir, or excommunication. The punishment for such apostasy is death. Zarqawi (the current head of al-Qaeda) has greatly expanded the list of behaviors that define a Muslim as an infidel that results in death.
Mainstream Muslim organizations have declared ISIS to be un-Islamic without facing up to their own past. Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel said they have a “cotton-candy” view of their own faith that neglects what their own religion has historically and legally required. In other words, the Muslim community at large has failed to face the realities of the ISIS mentality. Obama’s mistaken support of air strikes as successful is only compounded by the dim view in the Muslim world.
One of the major objectives of the ISIS military effort is the restoration of the caliphate. This religio-political system of government has not functioned except in name for around 1,000 years. A caliph must be an adult Muslim of Quraysh descent who displays authority and moral probity. Not only is the caliphate viewed as a political entity, the restoration of office is seen as a vehicle for salvation. ISIS propaganda reports that pledges of money now pour in from jihadist groups throughout the Muslim world to support this effort.
During the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the ISIS mentality believed the signs of the end times were everywhere. They were expecting the arrival of the Mahdi, a messianic figure who would lead Muslims to victory just before the end of the world. This expected epic battle between good and evil fills a deep psychological need for the radical jihadists. A blood-bath mentality with its sociopathic and psychotic overtones fuels “the crazies” who behead their opponents and commit violent acts. Once again the religious motif supporting war looms on the horizon.
Would ISIS send an ambassador to the United Nations to end this strife? Abu Baraa said definitely not. “To send an ambassador to the UN is to recognize an authority other than God’s.”
Get the picture? It’s time to rethink how to successfully confront ISIS. They will not stop because of bombs, a few defeats, and military set backs. Their mentality suggests that to be a martyr is a ticket straight to heaven. The West had best think again!