Below is the full contribution by Christian Zeitz of the Wiener Akademikerbund to “It’s the Real Islam”. This completes our video project, which provided an analytical response by four experts on shariah to the first ISIS propaganda video.
The first video (of composited excerpts) is “It’s the Real Islam”.
The indescribably horrible ISIS propaganda video (WARNING: graphic) is here.
Many thanks to Rembrandt Clancy for the translation and subtitling:
It’s the Real Islam
The video in question shows us as well as anything, everything about the intentions of ISIS, their ideological and religious backgrounds, their historical embeddedness, their objectives and their methods. The video is a self-portrayal; it is a video which propagandises, mobilises, recruits, and establishes a kind of claim to world domination.
I think it is a question here of a qualitatively new condition in the Islamic world; for ISIS really constitutes one of the most compact distillates of the Islamic Weltanschauung and religion in the history of Islam generally. It is, so to speak, the archetype of everything which constitutes Islam. And the video illustrates that, considering all the activities which are carried out here with reference to fundamentals of faith and in respect of the life of the so called Messenger, Mohammed. It illustrates that there is a central figure in the Islamic world, the true Imam: that Imam who imposes the true doctrine and who is also able to enforce it with physical violence, thus to force and foster it.
On the one hand, it is about the confrontation with what is called shirk in Islam, a confrontation with those who associate [with other gods, idolatry] so to speak. Thus the Shiites are addressed first. Footage is shown of the destruction of Samarra, a city which was symbolic in the history of the confrontation with the Shiites. Samarra was one of the centres of the Safavid dynasty, which was a Sieneer dynasty, which also stood in military confrontation with the Ottoman Empire for a long time. And it is this city which is being brutally destroyed. It is being razed to the ground, symbolically as it were, including everything which counts as a so called sacred site in this city: shrines and the minarets. That is one scene.
This scene is grouped around the effort towards the complete, verbal expressive power of Islam. An entire vocabulary is employed, which has central significance in Islam. Vocabulary such as the above mentioned shirk, the mushrikeen, the murtad, which is to say the unbelievers, the apostates, those who associate apart from Allah, and therefore are condemned to death. The fatal outcome is the immediate consequence of apostasy and exemplifies what happens when one is not subject to the Imam, as it were, and shuts oneself off from the true doctrine.
The whole idea is then applied to the entre Islamic world. On the other hand, it is said that the Islamic world is in confusion; that it is in a diaspora, and that it is situated in fragments. Thus here the myth of the Umma is used, the global community of Muslims. At the same time the claim is also made that ISIS will be the only power and organisation which will in fact establish the Umma. Then the entire verbal acrobatics in opposition to the West are brought forward. Democracy is attacked, secularism is attacked and the national statehood of the Western world is attacked; namely, those images of the enemy with which Islam has been operating uninterruptedly, especially since the blossoming of the Muslim Brothers and the Salafists. That is the second distillation. And it indicates a world view in which everything is subject to Allah, in which even the differences among state, religion and the individual’s day-to-day living are levelled, and even the reality of the world vanishes.
Thus there is nothing showcased here, and also nothing in reference to the deposit of faith; that is, there is nothing depicted here, there is nothing visualised here, which does not stand in an immediate, very close and explicit relation to the foundational beliefs of Islam. One or another of the Koran suras or verses is quoted; there are references to the Hadith collectors, Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, in which attention is called to how the Prophet Mohammed himself dealt with the unbelievers and also with those who practised shirk [idolatry].
For example, when a shrine or the grave of a Shiite is being flattened with the Caterpillar and the persons standing nearby are shot, reference is made precisely to the Sahih Muslim Hadith where Mohammed is quoted as saying that there must be no worship at the periphery of a grave or in proximity thereto. Thus an immediate and close interconnection is shown between the entire deposit of faith of Islam and its implementation by ISIS; and it is demonstrated and proven in a very spectacular and graphic form.
We must not forget that the concept of the unbeliever, which here in this video is continually and uninterruptedly stressed, is a central category of the Koran. And the unbeliever is not someone who simply does not believe or who is a heathen in our Western parlance, but is someone who believes wrongly; that is, Christians among others.
The Koran makes it quite clear, that those who believe in the Holy Trinity; which is to say, those who associate [shirk] apart from Allah, who say Allah is the third of three or that God is the third of three; hence believe in the Trinity of the Christian religion, these are definitely unbelievers and should be condemned to death.
[It is also clear in the Koran], that those who say that Jesus, the Messiah, is the Son of God, are unbelievers and should be condemned to death; and that those who refuse the imperative of worshipping Allah and of emulating the Messenger Mohammed, should likewise be condemned to death; for it states in the Koran, that the truth was revealed to them, the Nazarenes, and they turned their backs on it and therefore they must be prosecuted with all of the available force as it were. Thus the idea that unbelievers are only non-believers, or that unbelievers are supposed to be followers of nature religions is definitely incorrect. That is disproved by a large number of references in the Koran. Christians and Jews, as followers of so called religions of the book, must be condemned to death if they do not recite the Shahada; that is, if they do not submit to Allah as the one and only recognised God, and follow His Prophet Mohammed.
What is portrayed here is a world of horror, which nevertheless clearly attracts its followers at an astonishing rate. The former terror regimes such as those of Communism and National Socialism showed a kind of surface shame for the type of violence celebrated here; or they pursued it with a certain covertness. In this case, the violence is displayed openly. Here it is indulged. It is represented as the panacea for the realisation of the Islamic idea. And I believe that here one must also recognise this essential connection to the Koranic God-image, to the image of Allah. For example, Sura 3:127 reads as follows: it matters not whether Allah crushes the unbelievers underfoot forthwith; or whether He once more gives them an opportunity to convert, so as to permanently crush them afterwards. That is no concern of yours; they are evildoers. Or Sura 40:10 reads: Allah’s abhorrence of you is even greater than your hatred of yourselves, for you were called to the Faith, but you remained unbelieving. Hence another reference to those characterised as unbelieving with all that it implies.
He is the God which is depicted as the hating God; he is the God, who, as it were, calls to hatred. What lies behind that? What must the consequences be? One sees that blood vengeance and the right to retaliation are central elements in the Koran, in four different Suras; for example, in Sura 5:33 [2:178], where it specifies that death is to be carried out in every circumstance where another is killed: a free man for a free man, a slave for a slave and a female for a female; the right of retaliation is decreed for you by Allah. Therefore we notice here that a very specific regime is indicated; a regime, in which the primacy of corporeality and the primacy of physical violence prevails, and has to prevail. That is a counter-model to our type of civilisation, in which we customarily proscribe violence and ensure that violence is left to the monopoly of the state, and is in this manner domesticated. Nowhere in the entire Koran is there an indication which implies that violence is to be domesticated, or that it is to be regulated, let alone that it be then proscribed. Violence in the Koran is the ulitima ratio for every kind of problem solving whatsoever.
And ISIS expresses that in all their scenes and in all their staged activities. ISIS is the embodiment as it were of the pure doctrine, and they are anything but what we are continually served up in the Western media; namely, that they are a group of terrorists who are misusing the religion of Islam. The opposite is the case. How stupid must a person be who reads the fundamentals of the Koran, who watches videos such as this and then continues to take the view that a religion is being misused here! How blinkered must one be, if one does not notice that the God-image, in which a violent, avenging, man-hating Allah emerges, and yet it is not supposed to have inescapable implications for the brains of the believers! How mendacious must a society be which knows how Allah’s activities are represented in the Hadith, for example, and also in the Koran, and which nevertheless claims that there need be no consequences for the conscious condition of the people of this ISIS or similar organisations! For example, according to the Islamically authenticated biography of Ibn Ishaq, in 627 in Yathrib, then Medina, the city of the Prophet, Mohammed had a Jewish tribe brought forward, and in a single night he had 700 to 800 men dig graves in the centre of Yathrib, had the people lie down in them and then had them beheaded in succession. That is definitely the method of the Prophet. Beheading plays a role, like many other gruesome forms of killing in Islamic history, in the disseminated history as well as in the history of the disciples and the believers, and in many different locations. And therefore it is no wonder it is practised today. That is the method, which has forever been applied in the history of Islam, whenever it is effective not simply to kill adversaries, but also to humiliate them, and parade them before outsiders, as enemies, over whom one has triumphed.
Thus ISIS is more, far more than merely a group of scattered jihadists; they are far more, and in reality something completely different than a group of terrorists; rather they are Koran-faithful holy warriors who are, however, now clearly in charge of technical possibilities and communications options of quality, and are also able to encroach on the conscious mind of Western viewers, to whom this video is conspicuously directed.
It is now unfortunately the case, that by virtue of his constitution, and subsequent to original sin, man can come to good, but also to evil. Man carries the possibility of evil within himself. And the great Austrian Nobel Prize holder, Friedrich August von Hayek, said: We have been civilised very much against our will. Christianity has civilised us against our will in many respects; but this distillate and this outcome is, so to speak, not only a civilisation of productivity, but also one of peaceableness and of sublimation of violence. In the Koran it is written in several places, Allah wishes to make it easy for you in belief, for man is a weak creature. Islam in a very concrete and conscious way makes use, so to speak, of man’s wicked tendencies. It multiplies them, gives them scope and leads to the possibility of their being acted out.
When we behold the people presented here in this video and see with what passion, with what aggression and with what satisfaction they carry out killings; when we see how they wade in blood, how they more or less indiscriminately shoot at all those they consider unbelievers, and who therefore must be treated as enemies of Allah; when we see the feeling of pleasure bound up with it; when we see to what extent young people from countries in Western society are drawn by this performance to participate; young people from the countries of Europe and America, who join the people of ISIS and the jihadists, because by this time it has become a kind of pop culture, [when we look at all this], then we see with what effectiveness Islam quite purposefully, and with great success, makes use of the characteristics and negative potentials which are available in man.
That is an enormous danger; not only for that region, not only for Syria and Iraq and the immediately surrounding countries, but it also poses a danger of contagion, of an epidemiological dissemination of this world view. It is the danger of a completely radical implementation of the true Islam spreading like an epidemic. The idea of the caliphate appeals to many people; also to people who as Muslims have migrated to the various Western countries, who are there supposedly as migrant labour, and therefore ISIS is absolutely not to be underestimated as a danger, also for the Western world, which is not decisive enough, in the first instance, to recognise what kind of problem it presents. The Western world is not in a sufficiently good position organisationally and politically, and certainly not at all militarily, and also not from the standpoint of political will. The latter category is a central one to address: the fact of the West not being sufficiently well positioned to ensure that this group of core activists of the Islamic thought-world are stopped.
It is high time that the political leaders of the Western world, but also the representatives of the Christian churches and the representatives of Judaism, bring themselves to see that what we are experiencing here with ISIS is no marginal manifestation, which will perhaps collapse from within or disappear again on its own accord; rather, it is a potential avalanche which can blanket the entire globe.
We must consolidate all forces in order to ensure ideologically, that this world view does not spread throughout the Western world, and we must consolidate ourselves in order to come together locally for the pragmatic fight, as well as for the question of the urgency of the fight against this source of conflagration. That is a task which brooks no postponement and which we in the Western society of nations must undertake at all costs.
The central message of this video is that, in ISIS, we are dealing with a new dimension of the jihadist movement, for it combines an absolutely hardcore ideology with modern technology, modern communications and the power of mobility. This fusion is novel in its form, and has never before occurred in the history of Islam.
Previous posts about “It’s the Real Islam: a response to the Islamic State”:
|2014||Sep||11||It’s the Real Islam|
|12||Robert Spencer: The Seeds of War|
|13||Bill Warner: The Purification of Islam|
|14||David Wood: ISIS is Just Like Mohammed, Only With Modern Technology|