What ISIS really wants. March ATLANTIC
If the author of The Atlantic Monthly article,” What ISIS Really Wants“, wanted to smear Islam and Muslims, he could not have done a better job. Picking a self-promoting Islamophobe like Bernard Haykel (“the foremost secular authority on the Islamic State’s ideology“) as his source of information helps to make naive readers believe in what Wood and Haykel wanted to promote; a deep suspicion of Islam and Muslims and that Muslims are only doing in ISIS, what they are rooted to do in faith.
If The Atlantic Monthly had done even a few basic fact-checks of this “article”, they would have found enough holes in it, to make a sieve proud. I guess the usual budget cuts, must have done away with their fact-checking department as well.
To: The Editors of The Atlantic Monthly.
Re: “What ISIS Really Wants” in their March 2015 issue.
“What ISIS Really Wants” (Graeme Wood. Atlantic, March 2015) might have been a most interesting article, but the author appears to have gotten carried away by his own theories, did anyone do fact-checks on the article?
- “The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic.”. Nothing in Islam (The Quran) allows for the slaughter, cruelty and destruction that ISIS has wrought upon people.
- “Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to …. following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail.”. The prophet Mohammed did NOT lead his life in the manner of ISIS, there is no reliable documentation to such effect. In fact, every treatise published, shows him to be a compassionate man who forbade cruelty and destruction.
- “The punishment for apostasy is death”. Not according to the Quran (the ONLY ruling authority in Islam), read 2:256, 4:80, 6:108, 109:1-6, 3:20, 88:21-22, 42:48, 10:99, 16:106, 5:54
- “Baghdadi permits them to live, as long as they pay a special tax, known as the jizya, and acknowledge their subjugation. The Koranic authority for this practice is not in dispute.” Jizya is a special tax on non-Muslims, largely because they do not have the obligations to the state, as do Muslims. The Quran does NOT require “Death” as punishment, is a non-Muslim fails or refuses to pay Jizya.
- “Centuries have passed since the wars of religion ceased in Europe“. I suppose, because Muslims were attacked and slaughtered by the Croats and the Serbs (Because they were Muslims) during the breakup of Yugoslavia, fails to elevate that war as a “religious war”?
- “When a masked executioner says Allahu akbar while beheading an apostate, sometimes he’s doing so for religious reasons.” Lots of badly-motivated people do lots of terrible things for religious reasons, but that should not conflate into an indictment of the faith.
- “Every academic I asked about the Islamic State’s ideology sent me to Haykel” Obviously the author failed to ask impartial academics who are also well-rounded in Islam. “He regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he said. “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.”. If “what people do”, that defines their faith, then there is no religion that is as humane as the original texts would have it be.
- “All Muslims acknowledge that Muhammad’s earliest conquests were not tidy affairs“. Where would one find such “All Muslims? Deliberate brutality and inhumane treatment of prisoners was condemned by the prophet Mohammed.
- ” Koran’s ninth chapter, which instructs Muslims to fight Christians and Jews “until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”. This is a deliberate misrepresentation of Chapter nine’s verse. The verses do not deal with Christians, but with “Idolators and only those who broke treaties with Muslims (“…fulfill their treaty to them until their term..” 9:5). The freeing of a slave is stated in the Quran, to be something that pleases God and is required as expiation of some sins.
I could go on detailing the factual “errors” by this author, but this should suffice to get you to do a full fact-check of this article and perhaps, publish some clarifications, if not retractions.
Jafar “Jeff” Siddiqui,
American Muslims of Puget Sound
Postscript: A few days later, ThinkProgress published an article (“What The Atlantic Left Out About ISIS According to Their Own Expert“) in which Bernard Haykel was interviewed to see if he did indeed, make the statements as attributed to him. It turns out that Wood left our more than he put in, creating a misleading picture of Haykel’s position.