“No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.” It is good of Obama to try to explain exactly how the Islamic State is not Islamic, especially with Muslims from the U.S. trying to go to Iraq and Syria and join it. One of those supporters of the Islamic State, however, would respond that the people the Islamic State killed were not innocent, but culpable in some way, and that its Muslim victims were apostates or heretics, and hence their lives were forfeit.
The point is that this is more complicated than the President is making out. If the Islamic State so clearly and obviously violated basic tenets of Islam, there wouldn’t be hundreds of Western Muslims traveling to join it — something that we never saw in such numbers with al-Qaeda or other jihad groups. If the Islamic State were really so obviously un-Islamic, how is it that it came to call itself “the Islamic State” to begin with? That is, how did it gain any traction among any Muslims?
Obama and the other Western authorities who keep insisting that the Islamic State is not Islamic have never explained how this global misunderstanding of Islam arose and took root. They’ve never explained the texts and teachings of Islam that the Islamic State uses to justify its actions. And so while they keep insisting that the Islamic State is not Islamic, they only succeed in creating more cognitive dissonance, and raising questions about their own honesty and competence — at least, that is, among those who are not irredeemably blinkered.
“Obama: ISIL is ‘unique in its brutality’ — full transcript,” Chicago Sun-Times, September 10, 2014:
…Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. We cannot erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. That’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain. And one of those groups is ISIL – which calls itself the “Islamic State.”
Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.
In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide. In acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists – Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff….
“They execute captured prisoners”: As for the captives, the amir [ruler] has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first, to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale and manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them. Allah, may he be exalted, says, “When you encounter those [infidels] who deny [Islam] then strike [their] necks” (Qur’an sura 47, verse 4) (Abu’l-Hasan al-Mawardi, The Laws of Islamic Governance).
“They kill children”: “It is reported on the authority of Sa’b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them.” (Sahih Muslim 4321)
“They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage”: “O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war” (Qur’an 33:50)
“Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive, and they who turn away from ill speech, and they who are observant of zakah, and they who guard their private parts except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they will not be blamed” (Qur’an 23:1-6).
“They threatened a religious minority with genocide”: “And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an 9:5)