The “Islamic State Isn’t Islamic” meme has always been an absurdity. But it’s also vitally necessary as ISIS becomes the dominant Sunni Islamic terror group. And makes no apologies for its atrocities.
The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism report being touted in the media is a classic exercise in Jihad-denial. It’s the same old Islamist narrative full of Orwellian claims that ISIS fighters really lacked a solid grounding in Islam. If only there were more mosques, study of Islam, etc, Muslim terrorists would be less likely to turn to terrorism.
It goes without saying that this is the standard Brotherhood line. And it turns reality on its head.
The report is based on interviews and highly subjective. It’s based on 43 interviews. It’s unclear how much of a conclusion you can draw about thousands of fighters from around the world based on 43 people. And those ISIS Jihadists willing to participate in such a thing are already a self-selecting group.
Claims that these fighters were generally low down on the economic and educational ladder only sound meaningful until you consider that’s true of Muslims in Europe and the Middle East in general. It’s as significant as rain in Seattle.
Understanding of Islam is also relative.
The real question has never been whether ordinary fighters are experts in Sharia law. They’re not expected to be. Islamic law is a dense and complex subject. And ordinary Muslims are expected to rely on Islamic rulings. It’s the Islamic knowledge of the ISIS leadership. Ground troops in any cause are not expected to be wealthy or experts in a topic.
Furthermore the insistence by the study that ISIS’ actions are un-Islamic itself demonstrates either an ignorance of Islamic law or a desire to obscure it.
The study is largely an excercise in denying the obvious. And pointing Western governments toward the same blind alley of deradicalization through more government programs rather than addressing the Islamic source of the problem.