Call it ISIL, or call it ISIS.
Argue about its origins. Debate which presidential candidate would deal with it more effectively. Abhor the terrorism committed in its name. Check out reports of its battlefield losses and money troubles.
Or, as Muslim author and commentator Arsalan Iftikhar calls it, “the Un-Islamic State.”
Dabiq is a Syrian village. ISIL’s interpretation of Islam holds that a climactic battle there between Muslims and infidels will precede the apocalypse.
ISIL rejects labeling as “senseless violence” such acts as “the blessed attack on a sodomite, Crusader nightclub.” That was Pulse, the Orlando gay nightclub where a gunman professing allegiance to ISIL killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in June.
“One would think that the average Westerner, by now, would have abandoned the tired claim that the actions of the mujahidin — who have repeatedly stated their goals, intentions, and motivations — don’t make sense.”
To ISIL, they make sense. Why?
“We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers; you reject the oneness of Allah — whether you realize it or not — by making partners for Him in worship, you blaspheme against Him, claiming that He has a son, you fabricate lies against His prophets and messengers, and you indulge in all manner of devilish practices.”
Next: “We hate you because your secular, liberal societies permit the very things that Allah has prohibited while banning many of the things He has permitted, a matter that doesn’t concern you because you separate between religion and state, thereby granting supreme authority to your whims and desires via the legislators you vote into power.”
“The atheist fringe” is scorned: “You witness the extraordinarily complex makeup of created beings, and the astonishing and inexplicably precise physical laws that govern the entire universe, but insist that they all came about through randomness and that one should be faulted, mocked and ostracized for recognizing that the astonishing signs we witness day after day are the creation of the Wise, All-Knowing Creator and not the result of accidental occurrence.”
So ISIL offers a warning: “As long as your subjects continue to mock our faith, insult the prophets of Allah — including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad — burn the Quran, and openly vilify the laws of the Shari’ah, we will continue to retaliate, not with slogans and placards, but with bullets and knives.”
To the nations allied against it: “We hate you for your crimes against the Muslims; your drones and fighter jets bomb, kill and maim our people around the world, and your puppets in the usurped lands of the Muslims oppress, torture and wage war against anyone who calls to the truth. … We hate you for invading our lands and fight you to repel you and drive you out. As long as there is an inch of territory left for us to reclaim, jihad will continue to be a personal obligation on every single Muslim.”
Forget changing policy. “The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam.”
In a mocking conclusion, ISIL says, “So you can continue to believe that those ‘despicable terrorists’ hate you because of your lattes and your Timberlands, and continue spending ridiculous amounts of money to try to prevail in an unwinnable war, or you can accept reality and recognize that we will never stop hating you until you embrace Islam and will never stop fighting you until you’re ready to leave the swamp of warfare and terrorism through the exits we provide.”
The ways out are: Convert to Islam, pay jizyah (a tax on non-Muslims living under Muslim rule), or “as a last means of fleeting respite — a temporary truce.”
An exit any time soon appears unlikely.