It’s a favorite trump card of the administration, their argument being, “If the Islamic State is really Islamic, why would they murder their own kind?”
It’s a good question. An answer to it is hazarded by the Atlantic’s Graeme Wood in a much-cited essay titled “What ISIS Really Wants.” Calling the administration’s response a “well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature,” Wood writes:
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. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million. [Emphasis added]
Note the highlighted phrase. The IS is so deeply mired in and committed to the ancient teachings of the Koran that it considers lesser Muslims apostates.
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