So ISIS is Islamic, huh? That seems to be a raging topic of debate as the group continues to make headlines. In a featured piece for The Atlantic in March of 2015, journalist Graeme Wood argued that ISIS isn’t a ragtag cadre of psychopaths, but rather a religious group with carefully considered beliefs. Plenty of people disagreed, including journalist Mehdi Hasan, who penned this rebuttal in The New Statesman.
Well before this question grabbed the public’s attention in such a fierce way, however, Hasan made a point that should have ended the debate. In an August 21, 2014 article at the Huffington Post, he wrote that two wannabe terrorists, Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed, were so hyped up about joining ISIS and living out their supposedly religious mandate that they purchased copies of Islam for Dummies and The Quran for Dummies, books from the famous how-to reference series that introduce various topics in non-intimidating, step-by-step fashion.
“You could not ask for better evidence to bolster the argument that the 1,400-year-old Islamic faith has little to do with the modern jihadist movement. The swivel-eyed young men who take sadistic pleasure in bombings and beheadings may try to justify their violence with recourse to religious rhetoric – think the killers of Lee Rigby screaming “Allahu Akbar” at their trial; think of Islamic State beheading the photojournalist James Foley as part of its “holy war” – but religious fervour isn’t what motivates most of them.”
Hasan explains in detail how other similar individuals and groups often hide behind religious language, yet are often motivated by other factors. Read more, and see a video of Hasan discussing the article, at The Huffington Post.