Friday, February 27, 2015

Beating Back ISIS, by Martin Accad

Accad responds to the Atlantic article I linked to last week in a post titled Beating Back ISIS on the IMES blog. For those who read the Atlantic article, Accad has some analysis that is really insightful. Here are his main points:

  1. It would be far better for everyone if Muslim apologists stopped dissociating ISIS from some supposed ‘true Islam.’
  2. We need to understand ISIS for what it truly is: a deeply religious, fundamentalist, ‘restorative’ ideology, with long and deep roots both in history and in decades of radical preaching in certain types of mosques across the world.
  3. Non-Muslim slanderers of Islam need to stop applying principles to Islam they would not accept being applied to themselves.
  4. Given the particular apocalyptic views of ISIS and its global recruits, which Graeme Wood highlights in his article, I agree with him that a massive ground-attack on ISIS is not the solution.
  5. When Muslim apologists feel that they need to reject ISIS as non-Islamic, they risk obstructing a more fruitful fight against ISIS consisting in drying-up the ideological pools of ISIS recruitment.

Read the whole thing.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

What ISIS Really Wants, by Graeme Wood

After I received a forth email empathically encouraging me to read What ISIS Really Wants by Graeme Wood, I decided to invest one hour needed to fully engage it. I was glad I did.

Wood paints the phenomenon of the ISIS narrative within the contemporary Islamic scene, and offers some very insightful commentary while doing so. One short-coming of the article is that he only offered one other competing Islamic hermeneutic, and as far as I know, there are many. Wood unfortunately presupposes that the traditional Muslim understanding of Mohammed is credible, which is problematic in my opinion. Other important voices are here, for instance.

But it is still a great read, as long as we understand that groups like ISIS come and go in Islam, even if ISIS is one of the most impressive. (One one the most helpful sources for helping me understand Islam and its internal conflicts is this summary: Islam is Not a Civilization.)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

American Protestant Pastors vs. Americans on “True Islam”

From Ed Stetzer, NEW RESEARCH: How Americans View Islam:

Forty-five percent of 1,000 senior Protestant pastors surveyed say the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, "gives a true indication of what an Islamic society looks like." … The pastors had a much darker view of Islam than Americans at large. In contrast, in the second survey, 27% of Americans say the Islamic State reflects the true nature of Islamic society.

Why do Pastors have a much more negative view of “Islam” than typical Americans? I’ve got my theories, but I’d love to hear yours.