Military Review English Edition March-April 2016 - Page 31

ISLAMIC STATE ACTIONS IS’s actions as abhorrent and un-Islamic—is horrified by what it sees. So, how does IS justify what it does? This article will explore this question by examining the commentary IS offers on events in its online magazine, Dabiq, and conclude by evaluating IS’s justification. Islamic State IS is an Islamist organization; Islamist movements are those that aspire to use the Quran and the deeds and sayings of the prophet Muhammad (the latter two are collectively known as the sunnah) as the basis for organizing society. Islamists regard the Quran and sunnah as revelations of God’s will and believe that most countries that call themselves Muslim are far from adhering to them. Those countries failing to implement Muslim law (sharia) are instead seen as corrupt, guided by leaders who have defiled themselves through contact with non-Muslim nations of the West. Consequently, IS believes that reordering society in accordance with the God-given tenets revealed in the Quran and the sunnah is the antidote for the moral bankruptcy of Western society. Their belief in the inerrancy of the Quran as God’s word to man is a primary aspect of IS’s nature as a fundamentalist group. Fundamentalist interpretations of religion generally include the following characteristics: Its members are seen as “real” believers in contrast to surrounding societies and to members of their faith who hold views different from their own. Democracy is rejected in favor of a state in which religious law is implemented. The days when their faith began are seen to be ideal and therefore serve as a model for how things should be now. Modern religious scholarship is rejected. Only a literal interpretation of what are seen as inerrant foundational texts is seen to be valid. Its members hold apocalyptic beliefs—the end times are seen to be near. Fundamentalist Islamists wish to spread their faith together with the associated Islamic political system worldwide. summarizes what IS sees as its mission: the establishment of an Islamic state by force of arms, or jihad (holy war). To justify its position, it quotes the Quran: “Say to those who disbelieve … And fight them, so that sedition might end and the only religion will be that of Allah” (8:38-9).2 In the second volume of the magazine, the establishment of such a state is seen to be a multinational mission: “We must confront them [people] with the fact that they’ve turned away from religion, while we hold onto it … we’re completely ready to stand in the face of anyone who attempts to divert us from our commitment to making the religion of Allah triumphant over all other religions, and that we will continue to fight the people of deviation and misguidance until • • • • • • • Islamic State’s Fundamentalist Mission Articles in Dabiq evince all such fundamentalist characteris tics.1 An article in the first edition of Dabiq MILITARY REVIEW  March-April 2016 Dabiq is the title of the official propaganda publication of the Islamic State (IS). It is an online magazine that promulgates IS ideology, policies, and objectives while also serving as a platform for grandiose threats against the West and other perceived enemies of IS such as Shia Muslims, Yazidis, and Jews. First published in July 2014 in several languages, including English, it uses sophisticated Western-style photo imagery and advertising techniques specifically aimed at recruiting young disaffected audiences. In doing so, it features lurid photos of the torture and execution of those described as IS opponents. Dabiq takes its name from a small town in northern Syria where, Islamic tradition holds, the apocalyptic final battle between Muslims and Christians will take place that results in a Muslim victory and ushers in the end of the secular world and a new Muslim world order. 29