Claims that the atrocities of the Islamic State have “nothing to do with Islam” are harming efforts to confront and combat extremism, the Archbishop of Canterbury has insisted.
Religious leaders of all varieties must “stand up and take responsibility” for the actions of extremists who profess to follow their faith, the Most Rev Justin Welby said.
He argued that unless people recognise and attempt to understand the motivation of terrorists they will never be able to combat their ideology effectively.
It follows calls from a series of high profile figures for people to avoid using the term Islamic State – also known as Isil, Isis and Daesh – because, they say, its murderous tactics go against Islamic teaching and that using the name could help legitimise the group’s own propaganda.
But the Archbishop said that it is essential to recognise extremists’ religious motivation in order to get to grips with the problem.
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According to White House press secretary Josh Earnest, “When it comes to ISIL, we are in a fight—a narrative fight with them. A narrative battle.” Earnest said this the day after two separate bombings occurred in New York, and an ISIS-linked Muslim went on a stabbing spree in Minnesota. Obama’ spokesman later elaborated:
What is important in the context of political debate is to remember ISIL is trying to assert a narrative, that they represent the religion of Islam in a war against the west and in a war against the United States. That is mythology. That is falsehood. That is not true. That is bankrupt ideology they are trying to wrap in the cloak of Islam.
This, of course, is a strawman argument: the real question isn’t whether ISIS “represents” Islam, but whether ISIS is a byproduct of Islam. And this question can easily be answered by looking not to ISIS but Islam. One can point to Islamic doctrines that unequivocally justify ISIS behavior; one can point to the whole of Islamic history, nearly 14 centuries of ISIS precedents.
Or, if these two options are deemed too abstract, one can simply point to the fact that everyday Muslims all around the world are behaving just like ISIS.
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“And fair women with large eyes, the likenesses of pearls well-protected, as reward for what they used to do.” (Qur’an 56:22-24)
What does one have to do to get them? The Qur’an offers one guarantee of Paradise: to those who “kill and are killed” for Allah (9:111).
For adolescent boys, this can be a powerful recruitment tool for jihad.
Meanwhile, I’m sure John Kerry is jetting over to Mosul now to explain to these boys how the Islamic State actually misinterprets Sharia.
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“There is no safety for honest men, but by believing all possible evil of evil men, and by acting with promptitude, decision, and steadiness on that belief.”
Those words, written in 1791 by Irish philosopher Edmund Burke, should be deeply internalized by anyone who wants to deal seriously with international affairs. In our present era of Islamic State and other Islamic terror groups, the phrase “all possible evil” seems to take on new meaning almost every day.
As in a chilling new video, first reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and reported on by Fox News here, that shows IS “cubs”—child warriors, in this case as young as ten—executing five Kurdish fighters.
The video features scenes of beheadings and other carnage before zeroing-in on the five boys and their victims. One of the boys, identified as Abu al-Baraa al-Tunisi, warns: “The war against you has not started yet and the U.S., France, the U.K., Germany, and neither humans nor Jinn devils will avail you. Prepare you coffins, dig your graves, and await a fate similar to that of these men.”
The boys then shout “Allah Akbar” and shoot the five kneeling, red-suited men in the backs of their heads.
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Kayla Mueller, a U.S. hostage taken by Islamic State, suffered unbelievable abuses while being held by her terrorist captors. Through months of physical and sexual abuse, she refused to renounce her Christian faith, even to her death. Mueller’s story was told by four former hostages who shared cells with her on ABC News’s “20/20” Thursday night. The details they offer are nothing short of harrowing.
Mueller, a 25-year-old aid worker, spent 18 months in ISIS captivity, including a stint as a sex slave to ISIS’s so-called Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Much of Mueller’s time in captivity was spent in a prison run by infamous British ISIS executioner “Jihadi John” and his fellow British ISIS fighters. Mueller suffered through multiple rapes and various forms of sadistic torture, but despite the hellish existence, her fellow captives say she never lost her spirit.
“One of them started to say, ‘Oh this is Kayla and she has been held all by herself. And she is much stronger thank you guys. And she’s much smarter. She converted to Islam.’ And she was like, ‘No, I didn’t,’” said Rye, recounting the story for ABC News in an interview.
All attempts to ransom Mueller would be blocked by the FBI and Obama administration.
Hamas denies it up and down. Nonetheless, there are growing signs that the Islamist movement, which is based in the Gaza Strip, is continuing to cooperate with other jihadi terror groups that are affiliated with Islamic State (ISIS), especially those that have been operating in the Egyptian peninsula of Sinai in recent years.
This cooperation, according to Palestinian Authority security sources, is the main reason behind the ongoing tensions between the Egyptian authorities and Hamas. These tensions have prompted the Egyptians to keep the Rafah border crossing mostly closed since 2013, trapping tens of thousands of Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip.
In 2015, the Egyptians opened the Rafah terminal for a total of twenty-one days to allow humanitarian cases and those holding foreign nationalities to leave or enter the Gaza Strip.
This year so far, Rafah has been open for a total of twenty-eight days. Sources in the Gaza Strip say there are about 30,000 humanitarian cases that need to leave immediately. They include dozens of university students who haven’t been able to go back to their universities abroad and some 4,000 patients in need of urgent medical treatment.
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently gathered defense ministers from allied nations to plan what officials hope will be the decisive stage in the campaign to eradicate the Islamic State (IS) organization. This is a strategic mistake.
IS, a radical Islamist group, has killed thousands of people since it declared an Islamic caliphate in June 2014, with the Syrian city of Raqqa as its de facto capital. It captured tremendous international attention by swiftly conquering large swaths of land and by releasing gruesome pictures of beheadings and other means of execution.
But IS is primarily successful where there is a political void. Although the offensives in Syria and Iraq showed IS’s tactical capabilities, they were directed against failed states with weakened militaries. On occasions when the poorly trained IS troops have met well-organized opposition, even that of non-state entities like the Kurdish militias, the group’s performance has been less convincing. When greater military pressure was applied and Turkish support dwindled, IS went into retreat.
REUTERS – The suicide bomber who attacked a wedding party in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep on Saturday killing 51 people was a child between the ages of 12 and 14, President Tayyip Erdogan said.
“Initial evidence suggests it was a Daesh attack,” Erdogan said, using an Arabic name for ISIS, during a visit to Gaziantep after the attack. He said 69 people were in hospital and 17 were “heavily injured”.
ISIS has been blamed for other attacks in Turkey, often targeting Kurdish gatherings in an effort to inflame ethnic tensions. The deadliest one was last October, when suicide bombers killed more than 100 people at a rally of pro-Kurdish and labor activists in Ankara.
Saturday’s wedding party was for a member of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, it said, and the groom was among those injured. The bride was not hurt, one local official said.
An old (and tiresome) debate appears to have been settled by those best positioned to settle it. According to Andrew Gripp, a former political science professor:
Since 9/11, one of the defining fault lines in American and Western politics has concerned whether jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS are motivated by their religion or by politics – or more specifically, by grievances against Western foreign policy. Some insist that Islamic doctrine is the basis of their violence, while others insist that such groups are not truly Islamic, but are instead using the guise of religion to lash out against Western influence and intervention.
After indicating how “jihadist groups’ political behavior is consistently traceable to their beliefs about what the Quran, hadith, and respected commentaries say they have a divine injunction to do,” Gripp writes:
For years, however, making this case has been a challenge. This is in part because al-Qaeda was intentionally speaking to both sides in this debate. As the scholar Raymond Ibrahim demonstrates in The Al Qaeda Reader, the terrorist group would regularly frame its grievances in political terms when broadcasting its message to the West (so as to insinuate that once the West withdrew, peace would come). Yet when speaking to the Muslim world, the group would make highly sophisticated religious arguments, explaining why its actions, however reprehensible on their face, were in fact justified by a close reading of the holy texts.