This AP study is one in an apparently endless stream of mainstream media articles intended to show us that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, and that the real Islam is peaceful and benign, so we need have no concern about the elites’ suicidal Muslim immigration policies. It is, as one might expect, vague and anecdotal. Apparently much of AP’s assumptions rest on jihadis’ own self-evaluation of how much they knew about Islam, as well as their refusal to expound on Islamic theology in court. That they might rate themselves low, and not feel competent as non-clerics to explain Islam, does not mean that they knew little about it, much less that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam.
AP ignores, for example, the central importance that the Islamic State places upon the Qur’an. Its beheadings (47:4), sex slavery (4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30), subjugation of Christians (9:29), global imperative (8:39) and more are all based upon the Qur’an. In its communiques, it quotes it copiously: in threats to blow up the White House and conquer Rome and Spain; in explaining its priorities in the nations it is targeting in jihad; in preaching to Christians after collecting the jizya (a Qur’an-based tax, cf. Qur’an 9:29); in justifying the execution of accused spies; and in its various videos.
It has also awarded $10,000 prizes and sex slaves in Qur’an memorization contests. One of its underground lairs was found littered with weapons and copies of the Qur’an. Children in the Islamic State study the Qur’an and get weapons training.
As for misrepresenting the Qur’an, one Malaysian Muslim said that the Qur’an led him to join the Islamic State. A Muslima in the U.S. promoted the Islamic State by quoting the Qur’an. An Islamic State propagandist’s parents said of him: “Our son is a devout Muslim. He had learnt the Quran by heart.” A Muslim politician from Jordan said that the Islamic State’s “doctrine stems from the Qur’an and Sunnah.”
Then there is the evergreen anecdote that two jihadis ordered The Koran for Dummies and Islam for Dummies from Amazon, a factoid that has been seized upon before by apologists for Islam, including Mehdi Hasan and Karen Armstrong, as evidence that Muslims going to Syria and Iraq to join the jihad don’t really know anything about Islam, and are motivated by other factors. However, no one but they really know why they ordered the books. Maybe they felt as if they needed to know more about Islam, now that they were committing everything to it — but that doesn’t mean they didn’t know anything to start with. Maybe they wanted to learn how to explain it all better, or were planning to give the books to their irreligious relatives, or any number of other possibilities. But any half-truth or outright lie will do for the likes of AP, Hasan or Armstrong when it comes to exonerating Islam from all responsibility for crimes committed in accord with its texts and teachings.
AP even invokes Tariq Ramadan to emphasize that Islam forbids the killing of innocents. It doesn’t ask Ramadan to explain the Islamic perspective that considers no non-Muslims to be innocent, or the Islamic State’s view that they are fighting against people who are not innocent because they have rejected the authority of the ISIS caliphate. AP doesn’t tell you how the slick pseudo-moderate Ramadan, the grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, is skillful at manipulating credulous Infidels into thinking that he is the very model of the modern moderate Muslim when actually he has never called for any genuine reform or rejection of any Sharia provision, including jihad warfare against Infidels.
“‘Islam for Dummies’: IS recruits have poor grasp of faith,” by Aya Batrawy, Paisley Dodds and Lori Hinnant, Associated Press, August 15, 2016:
PARIS (AP) — The jihadi employment form asked the recruits, on a scale of 1 to 3, to rate their knowledge of Islam. And the Islamic State applicants, herded into a hangar somewhere at the Syria-Turkey border, turned out to be overwhelmingly ignorant.
The extremist group could hardly have hoped for better.
At the height of Islamic State’s drive for foot soldiers in 2013 and 2014, typical recruits included the group of Frenchmen who went bar-hopping with their recruiter back home, the recent European convert who now hesitantly describes himself as gay, and two Britons who ordered “The Koran for Dummies” and “Islam for Dummies” from Amazon to prepare for jihad abroad. Their intake process complete, they were grouped in safe houses as a stream of Islamic State imams came in to indoctrinate them, according to court testimony and interviews by The Associated Press….
An AP analysis of thousands of leaked Islamic State documents reveals most of its recruits from its earliest days came with only the most basic knowledge of Islam. A little more than 3,000 of these documents included the recruits’ knowledge of Shariah, the system that interprets into law verses from the Quran and “hadith” — the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad.According to the documents, which were acquired by the Syrian opposition site Zaman al-Wasl and shared with the AP, 70 percent of recruits were listed as having just “basic” knowledge of Shariah — the lowest possible choice. Around 24 percent were categorized as having an “intermediate” knowledge, with just 5 percent considered advanced students of Islam. Five recruits were listed as having memorized the Quran.
The findings address one of the most troubling questions about IS recruitment in the United States and Europe: Are disaffected people who understand Shariah more prone to radicalization? Or are those with little knowledge of Islam more susceptible to the group’s radical ideas that promote violence?
The documents suggest the latter. The group preys on this religious ignorance, allowing extremists to impose a brand of Islam constructed to suit its goal of maximum territorial expansion and carnage as soon as recruits come under its sway….
“My religious beliefs had nothing to do with my departure,” Karim Mohammad-Aggad told the court, before being sentenced to nine years in prison. “Islam was used to trap me like a wolf,” he said.IS data shows Karim and his brother Foued were among eight in the Strasbourg group listed as having “basic” knowledge of Sharia.
Expressing a common sentiment shared by many Europeans of North African descent, Mohammed-Aggad told the court he felt like an immigrant in Algeria and “a dirty Arab” in France. After just a few months in Syria, he said he left IS because he was treated by the extremists as an “apostate” — someone who had renounced his religion.
When pressed by the judge on his knowledge of Shariah and how the IS group implements it, Mohammad-Aggad, a former gas station attendant, appeared dumbfounded, saying repeatedly: “I don’t have the knowledge to answer the question.”
One of his co-defendants, Radouane Taher, was also pressed by the judge on whether beheadings carried out by the IS group conformed to Islamic law.
He couldn’t say for sure, answering: “I don’t have the credentials.”
That’s where Amazon comes in.
The trial of longtime friends Mohammed Ahmed and Yusuf Sarwar, from the British city of Birmingham, revealed the 22-year-olds had ordered “The Koran for Dummies” and “Islam for Dummies” books in preparation for their trip to join extremists in Syria. They were arrested on their return to Britain and convicted in 2014 of terrorism offenses….
Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan said a close look at the IS group’s top commanders shows that many had no religious credentials but, instead, they once held senior positions under Saddam Hussein’s secular Baathist government.
Ramadan teaches Islamic Studies at Oxford and has written numerous books on Islam and the integration of Muslims in Europe. He says Muslim scholars must demonstrate that what IS teaches is wrong.
“The people who are doing this are not experiencing martyrdom, they are criminals. They are killing innocent people. Nothing in Islam, nothing ever can justify the killing of innocent people, never, ever.”…