ISIS Is Killing Us Because We Are Not Muslim
The Islamic State (ISIS) regularly publishes a glossy, professionally produced magazine called Dabiq. Until their August 4th issue, they have always aimed it at recruiting Western Muslims into their ranks. This month, for the first time, ISIS directed their magazine towards Western non-Muslims, particularly Christians and secularists. One article in particular they titled with unavoidable clarity: “Why We Hate You and Why We Fight You.”
ISIS headlined their 15th issue Break the Cross, a reference to Muhammad’s end-times prophecy in which Jesus will return to earth as a Muslim and cause Christians and Jews to perish, “breaking the cross and killing the swine.” This has been the mainstream Islamic view of end times for centuries, though in modern days it is often interpreted peacefully. ISIS, of course, does not interpret it so, and the cover of the magazine depicts a man atop a conquered church casting down the cross and replacing it with the Black Standard of ISIS, the flag proclaiming Islamic monotheism.
The issue’s first article is written by an ISIS soldier, Abul-Harith ath-Thaghri, who shares a story that is more human than one might expect. While defending the frontlines during a chilly evening, he was startled by a cat that came to him for warmth. He allowed the cat to warm itself on his lap, and as the cat purred, Abul-Harith pondered the beauty of God’s creation, that Allah would allow the soul of a man to connect even with the soul of a cat. The article proceeds to ponder the beauty of love between spouses and the “cuteness” of babies and their “chubby cheeks.” These sentiments all fall under their notion of fitrah, or the “inborn human nature.”
Although ISIS sets out to appeal to common humanity in this issue, they do not hesitate to include pictures of what they are known for as well: dozens of slaughtered individuals from Bangladesh to Orlando, including graphic images of public beheadings. How are we to understand these apparently contradictory poles of emphasis?
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