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Monday, November 09, 2015

Islam response to ISIS - a point of view

A friend who is studying in Jerusalem responded to my blog calling for Islam to respond to evil ISIS terrorism:

To summarize, I asked, "What are the Muslims doing to combat the negative, and evil pervasive influence and violence of the caliphate or Islamic State?"

My blogs responds to a gut feeling about the evil ISIS network of radical Islamists, but by no means can I claim any authoritative knowledge about the depth or nuances of the complex issues involved in trying to defeat this terrorist group.
What ISIS Really Wants- GRAEME WOOD writes in The Atlantic:

What I think I know about ISIS has largely been learned from assorted readings, but primarily from two articles published in The Atlantic:
"What ISIS really wants
Is There a Sunni Solution to ISIS?
http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/11/isis-sunni-iraq-anbar/413782/

GRAEME WOOD writes in The Atlantic:
Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.  The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. 

This is what my friend John Michalowski writes.  Father Michalowski is a Jesuit priest who is currently studying in Jerusalem. His response to my blogs calling for an Islamic response to ISIS:
Just a couple of notes on your blog:
You are right that ISIS is evil. However, it is important to recognize that they have been condemned by most Islamic organizations, including the Grand Mufti of Egypt. Their claim to have proclaimed a caliphate is not accepted by the vast majority of Sunni Muslims for a caliph can only be proclaimed by the consensus of all the leaders of Sunni Muslim states. 

I know of no leader of a Muslim State who has recognized their legitimacy. The Shiites don't recognize any caliphate, and so wouldn't be in on choosing such a leader. I don't think that they want to "take over the world" but to re-establish a Muslim caliphate in the Levant, i.e., Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, the Emirates, and Egypt. It would be an Arab Muslim caliphate. It it not something that Arab Muslims aspire to. 

In regard to Russia and its backing of Assad, the Russians know the chaos that the U.S. has unleashed by toppling the Saddam Hussain and destabilizing not just Iraq, but Afghanistan and Syria. The Russians have many Muslims on their southern border and don't want the unrest moving up on them. Assad may be a dictator, who is killing his own people, but the Russians feel that they need a strong leader if ISIS and the other rebel movements are to be controlled. Clearly the many different factions fighting Assad, not counting ISIS, are mostly unable to work together or know how to form a stable government. The Russians also worry that the remaining Christians in Syria (most of whom are Orthodox) will be pushed out if an Islamic religious government is formed. As brutal as Assad and Hussain are/were, they are secular leaders who allowed some freedom of religion to exist. 

What has complicated matters is that for the past fifty or more years, Saudi Arabia has used part of its oil wealth to set up madrasses (religious schools) in many Muslim majority nations to teach Wahabism (sp?), a fundamentalist late 18th century interpretation of Islam, which is intolerant of other faiths, including Shiite Islam. The Saudi form of fundamentalism differs from that of ISIS, and thus, ISIS has no use for the Saudis. Most forms of Islam are quite tolerant of other faiths. In fact, our Jordanian guide, who took us to Mt. Nebo, Bethany, Madaba and Petra, spent quite a bit of time as we were driving to the various sites to tell us about all the ways that Islam, Christianity and Judaism were quite similar. They share an Abrahamic origin, a similar moral stance, and are all people of the Book. 

I've said more than enough. If you want to add any of this to your blog, feel free to do so.

Peace in the Lord Jesus,
John

Thank you Father John!  Another enlightened point of view.

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