ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, threatened yesterday in a video that he is going to attack the U.S. in Washington, D.C. ISIS has been predicting that it would attack certain major nations that are involved in attacking ISIS’s military operations in its territories overtaken in Syria and Iraq. It predicted it would do so with Russia and France, and it has delivered only days later. ISIS’s affiliate in the North Sinai claimed to have brought down the airliner in which all 224 passengers, all but three being Russian, were killed. Last Thursday, ISIS committed a terrorist act in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed forty civilians. And the next day in Paris, on Friday, eight different sites suffered terrorist acts resulting in at least 128 civilian casualities and hundreds of people injured. ISIS is proving to be a sophisticated Islamic militant organization with terrorist cells spreading like tenacles into much of the world now.
ISIS is involved in the civil war in Syria, and it now controls a significant amount of terrortory there. It is fighting both the Asad regime and the various rebel organizations that oppose this regime. The U.S. and Russia are conducting bombing raids there, but with divergent purposes. Russia supports Asad and bombs ISIS and perhaps the rebels, whereas the U.S. opposes the Asad regime, calling for Asad to relinquish his presidency, and bombs ISIS and perhaps the Syrian government’s forces.
The result is a huge migration of people–most of them from Syria but also Afghanistan and North Africa. And being from countries, most of these people are Muslim with a few being Christian. They are illegally crossing northward into Turkey and then hopefully onward to the wealthier, northern European countries to live permanently. Several eastern European countries are quickly building fences to either prevent these poor migrants from illegally crossing into their lands or to better control them in doing so. Chancellor Merkel of Germany announced weeks ago that Germany would accept many of them, and she chastized other wealthy European countries for not being hopitable about it. But that now seems to be politically backfiring for her in Germany.
European nations fear there will be Islamic terrorists among the migrants. Now, it has been learned that one of the terrorists who were suicide bombers in Paris last Friday had a Syrian passport and apparently was allowed allowed passage among migrants. This is causing much worry, including in the U.S.
Western nations are being called to accept some of these migrants, many of them fleeing from the path of war, as residents. U.S. President Obama recently announced that the U.S. would accept 10,000 of them, which is actually a rather paltry sum since there are now millions of them. Twenty-three U.S. governors, with all but one being Republican, have now objected and asserted that their states will not accept these people due to the fear that Islamic terrorists could embed themselves among them. Both sides argue about how secure is the vetting process of background checks on them. But many of these migrants are from third world countries in which there is very little data available concerning their identities. Now, it is being argued whether or not state governors have legal authority to reject anyone, regardless of former nationality, from entering and residing in their states.It is alarming to me that most of these migrants the U.S. would accept are Muslims. Why? Islam is a religion based on a sacred text–the Qur’an. I have blogged about several disturbing texts in the Qur’an that command Muslims to literally take up arms and fight against “infidels” and “unbelievers.” (In Archive Index see my post on April 4, 2014, entitled “Are We Doing Enough about Islamic Suicide Bombers?” Therein, I list many of these violent texts.) The Qur’an, therefore, is a book that is very intolerant of other religions. Sometimes, it identifies Jews and Christians who do not convert to Islam as people to be avoided or killed.
I think the U.S. government has always been inadequate to the task of assessing its enemies who claim to be religious. It is because of our political heritage of the separation of church and state. The result is that our government largely ignores the religion of our enemies. Consequently, many of our political leaders oftentimes make statements or decisions about such enemies that are incorrect.
When U.S. President George W. Bush announced that the U.S. should go to war against Iraq–which was being ruled by the dictator Saddam Hussein–I said, “Why do that? Iraq is a Muslim country in which its two religious sects, Sunni and Shites, hate each other. We would just be getting ourselves into a religious conflict.” That’s how it turned out. Nearly every political analyst and European leader has deemed the western coalition’s invasion of Iraq, which was led by the U.S., as a failure due to this religious conflict.
President George Bush and his neo-con adisors obviously didn’t know much about Islam. The President naively believed, with his Bush Doctrine of the promotion of democracy in the Middle East and North Africa, that such people who had been subjected to dictatorial regimes for many decades would without quetion quickly embrace the liberation and freedom of democracy. But Islam and its Qur’an are not compatible with such beliefs; rather, ISIS understands correctly that the Qur’an advocates Islamic theocracies as political governments just as happened in Iran a generation ago. Iran is Shite and ISIS is Sunni, yet both understand the Qur’an as promoting Sharia law.
According to USA TODAY (November 17, 2015), CIA Director John Brennan yesterday declared that ISIS is “‘an organization of murderous sociopaths’ with a nihilistic and ‘criminally depraved’ agenda to simply kill others under ‘religious pretense.'” He may be right about his psychological characterization of ISIS, but he is not right about it having a “religious pretense.” ISIS members are Islamic fundamentalists who literally interpret their Qur’an. Most of the time, I don’t think it can be interpreted any other way.
Even Al Qaeda objects to some of ISIS’s brutality. Yet the Qur’an (8:12) declares, “God declared His will to the angels, saying: ‘I shall be with you. Give courage to the believers. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads.'”
That’s why I posted about Egypt’s President El-Sisi, a Muslim, months ago calling for a transformation of the Qur’an. And I also posted, “Does President Obama Read the Qur’an?” It’s because I think some of his statements look like he has not read it. Now I’ll say the same about CIA Director Brennan.
I think the U.S. government needs to somehow get a lot better about how it assesses its religious enemies and then take into consideration this superior knowledge in creating its foreign policy.