The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.
Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic
State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on
its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic
methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of
Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State;
nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious,
millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be
combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and
back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with
the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way
that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its
own excessive zeal.
I think the only way it'll 'self-immolate' is if it pisses off the surrounding Muslim nations badly enough that they do the immolating. But this is a pretty good piece on the mess. And doesn't back off from facts that the PC excuse-makers don't like.
According to Haykel, the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused
with religious vigor. Koranic quotations are ubiquitous. “Even the foot
soldiers spout this stuff constantly,” Haykel said. “They mug for their
cameras and repeat their basic doctrines in formulaic fashion, and they
do it all the time.” He regards the claim that the Islamic State
has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only
through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he said.
“It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a
thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their
texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the
Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone
Following takfiri doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to
purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people. The lack of
objective reporting from its territory makes the true extent of the
slaughter unknowable, but social-media posts from the region suggest
that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass
executions every few weeks. Muslim “apostates” are the most common
victims. Exempted from automatic execution, it appears, are Christians
who do not resist their new government. Baghdadi permits them to live,
as long as they pay a special tax, known as the jizya, and acknowledge their subjugation. The Koranic authority for this practice is not in dispute.