The Islamic State (IS) is a Jihadi Islamic movement. It is a movement that has declared a holy war against those it considers ‘impure’. Its goals center on Islam. Its mission is to establish a caliphate, “a state ruled by a single political and religious leader according to Islamic law, or Sharia” (“What is Islamic State?”, BBC, September 12, 2014). It seeks to spread Islam through the sword.
It follows an extreme version of Sunni Islam (BBC, ibid). Its major—and only--political tool is barbaric violence. It is rabidly anti-West. Its message is clear—and brutally simple: convert to our form of Islam or die.
There is nothing un-Islamic about ISIS. Everything it does is in the name of allah.
The Islamic State is so barbaric that the United States has decided to fight it. But as the US tries to form a coalition to do that, it undercuts its own anti-ISIS argument. Britain does the same thing.
When US President Obama announced on September 10, 2014 his intention to fight ISIS, he made the startling declaration that ISIS “is not Islamic” (“The prepared text of President Obama’s speech, as released by the White House”, npr, September 10, 2014).
When British Prime Minister David Cameron reacted to the September 13, 2014 beheading of British citizen David Haines, he did exactly what US President Obama had done three days earlier: he committed to fighting the barbaric ISIS; then he declared that ISIS doesn’t represent Islam (“Cameron on ISIS: They are Not Muslims. They are Monsters”, pjmedia, September 14, 2014).
They are both wrong. Calling ISIS un-Islamic (or, ‘not Islam’) is the same thing as calling Protestants un-Christian (or not Christian). It’s a semantic absurdity.
Furthermore, calling ISIS ‘not Islam’ weakens the West’s fight with ISIS. When you take ‘Islam’ out of the ‘Islamic State’ you remove from your gun sights the belief-structure that propels ISIS.
Put another way, if the West doesn’t address the Islamic ideology of ISIS, then all we will destroy will be ISIS members. We will attack a house but leave its walls, roof and foundation intact.
Applying the words, ‘un-Islamic’ to ISIS falls into the same category of folly as telling then-US President Franklin Roosevelt to announce (in 1941) that America would fight Germany, but that Germany wasn’t Nazi.
Roosevelt knew better. When, in January, 1943, he spoke about requiring unconditional surrender from Germany, Italy and Japan in order to end World War Two, he said that such a complete surrender “does not mean the destruction of the population of Germany, Italy or Japan, but it does mean the destruction of the philosophies in those countries which are based on conquest and the subjugation of other peoples” [emphasis mine] (“Peace & Unconditional Surrender”, Lincoln and Churchill.org, December 27, 2013). Roosevelt was right. Without unconditional surrender, the Nazi foundation would have not been destroyed. The lust for conquest and subjugation would never have been extinguished.
It’s the same with ISIS. We don’t fight ISIS because it’s a gang of killers. There are many such gangs in the world. We must fight ISIS because it is propelled by an Islamic ideology that seeks to conquer, kill and convert everyone it can find. It’s an Islamic plague that spreads death through conquest and subjugation.
If we de-link ISIS (which carries ‘Islam’ in its name) from the Islamic-driven lust to conquer, we will not extinguish the underlying fire that drives ISIS. The battle against ISIS will not end until we extinguish that fire.
Unfortunately, we live in a world which believes that we can cure a disease by treating only the symptoms. But that’s not always true.
It’s certainly not true here. Look at Iraq and Afghanistan. The West has been ‘treating’ the symptoms of those conflicts for more than a decade. The only result we’ve gotten is the rise of a more virulent disease, ISIS.
That’s what happens when you don’t treat the causes of a disease. You can end up worse off than when that disease first began.
The lesson is, don’t think you can save a sick patient by treating only the symptoms. You must also treat the underlying cause of that disease.
For ISIS, the underlying cause is not ‘being a Monster’ (pjmedia, above). The underlying cause is Islam.
Ignore that underlying cause and your patient will die. Deny that underlying cause and you will yourself be attacked by that disease.
That’s the folly of the West. It won’t address the underlying cause of ISIS. It denies the cause’s existence.
In war, you don’t win by positioning yourself with your head in the ground. If you stick your head in the ground, you’ll simply invite an attack.
That’s what Obama and Cameron are doing.
The G-d of Israel watches. He has a Story He wants you to see. This is part of that Story.