Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What Isis really wants

In March's edition of The Atlantic Monthly, Graeme Wood has a long article about what Isis really wants.

I would urge you to find it and read it. It altered my thinking about the Islamic State.

Wood makes the argument that Isis is not "not Islamic" but that they are radically Islamic, only 'Islamic' in the 6th century term of the word. The Islamic State is equivalent to Christian Biblical literalists only more so.There interpretation of the Koran and Sharia law is like a Christian believing in what was believed at the Council of Nicaea in the 4th Century. It is that ancient, what they believe to be true Islam.

He writes that when President Obama said that Isis was not truly Muslim it was a great boon to their enlisting more fighters. Isis, according to this article, is theologically, not politically, based. And part of that theology is that the movement is a player in the drama of the end days.

There is a city in Syria, which Isis holds, that is, in Islamic lore, the site of the battle between the last Caliphate and 'the armies of Rome'. We're talking about apocalyptic thinking here. So Isis has not moved to take more territory beyond that city (I'd tell you what it was but I loaned my copy of The Atlantic to a friend and can't look it up) because they're waiting for the 'army of Rome' to come for the final battle--the Muslim version of Armageddon.

They continue to advance, if they can, everywhere else, but not there. They're waiting for the last battle there.

Wood's argument is that we must understand that, unlike Bin Laden, Isis is driven by theology, not politics. They really mean to bring about the end of days.

I don't do the article justice, so find it and read it and see if it doesn't alter your understanding of what is going on in the Middle East. It will scare the bejesus out of you, but you will 'understand' more clearing why you're so frightened.

Really, this is something we all should read, mark and inwardly digest....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.