The Islamic Basis of the Islamic State

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The Islamic Basis of the Islamic State
by Fjordman

An article from September 2015 by the counter-terrorism expert Will McCants provides one of the most extensive accounts so far about the shadowy man the world has come to know as the leader of the Islamic State.[1]

Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim al-Badri was apparently born in 1971 in Samarra, an ancient Iraqi city on the edge of the Sunni Triangle north of Baghdad. He was the son of a pious man who taught Koranic recitation in a local mosque. Ibrahim was withdrawn and quiet, but also good at football. As a teenager, he led neighborhood children in Koran recitation. Even in his youth, he developed a reputation for being very pious. He went on to earn a doctoral degree in Koranic studies.

According to William McCants, “Early on, Ibrahim’s nickname was ‘The Believer.’ When he wasn’t in school, he spent much of his time at the local mosque, immersed in his religious studies; and when he came home at the end of the day, according to one of his brothers, Shamsi, he was quick to admonish anyone who strayed from the strictures of Islamic law. Now Ibrahim al-Badri is known to the world as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ruler of the Islamic State or ISIS, and he has the power not just to admonish but to punish and even execute anyone within his territories whose faith is not absolute. His followers call him ‘Commander of the Believers,’ a title reserved for caliphs, the supreme spiritual and temporal rulers of the vast Muslim empire of the Middle Ages. Though his own realm is much smaller, he rules millions of subjects.”

He comes from a lower middle-class family that claims to be descend from Muhammad himself. Baghdadi was thus not among the wealthiest members of his society, but he was not dirt poor by local standards, either. This once again confirms that many Jihadists come from a middle-class background. A few even hail from very wealthy families, for instance Osama bin Laden. Jihadist terrorism is not caused by poverty. This Marxist-inspired claim has been disproved many times.

Baghdadi also joined the Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq. His participation there has previously been confirmed by the Qatar-based Egyptian scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is widely considered a spiritual guide to the Muslim Brotherhood.[2] Admittedly, al-Baghdadi seems to have belonged to a militant subgroup of the MB. His membership of it is nevertheless significant.

Western leaders such as U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President François Hollande or German Chancellor Angela Merkel have repeatedly claimed that the actions of the Islamic State have nothing to do with Islam. This claim is simply not credible. Al-Baghdadi is no doubt a cruel man who leads an incredibly brutal group of people. Yet despite his many flaws, he seems to have been a devout and pious Muslim man throughout his entire life. Already as a teenager, he was referred to as “The Believer” by other Arab Muslims. That tells us something. He grew up in the heartland of the ancient Islamic Caliphate, in a territory that was ruled by Arab conquerors nearly fourteen centuries ago. His mother tongue is Arabic and he has had many years of education. He is able to read the Koran and other Islamic religious texts in their original language. He has a passionate interest in Koranic studies and is knowledgeable in this field.

Available evidence indicates that al-Baghdadi has been a serious and dedicated student of Islamic religion and Islamic law for as long as he has lived. He certainly knows more about these subjects than Western political leaders do. There is little reason to question that Baghdadi is sincere in his belief that the barbaric actions of his state represent Islam in its purest form. He quotes perfectly authentic statements from the Koran and the hadith in support of his rulings. Judging by the enthusiasm the Islamic State generates among a disturbing number of Muslims, millions of Muslims worldwide recognize ISIS’ version of Islam as true and authentic.

A few comments from me.

1.   Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been an intensely religious and devout Muslim throughout his entire life. He also has a higher degree in Islamic studies. A Muslim man with Arabic as his first language, he has for years developed a deep understanding of Islamic theology. This makes a complete mockery of the claim that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam.
2.   Al-Baghdadi has been an active member of the Muslim Brotherhood, just as the al-Qaida ideologue Sayyid Qutb was before him. The Muslim Brotherhood have for decades bred terrorists and their supporters. It is about time that Western authorities stop treating them as a “moderate” organization.
3.   Al-Baghdadi combines scholarly interests with a passion for football, which is somewhat unusual. He has a forceful personality with charisma and brutality in addition to Islamic scholarly credentials. This, unfortunately, makes him a rather capable leader of Jihadists, one who should not be underestimated.
4.   It is questionable whether the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) would exist, had it not been for the desire of U.S. President George W. Bush and his administration to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Hussein was not a nice man, but he was a relatively secular dictator. The disintegration of his regime left a power vacuum and some experienced but dissatisfied personnel. Perhaps a secular dictator who maintains some stability and keeps the most militant elements under control is the most viable alternative in the Middle East.

Trying to spread “democracy” to this part of the world can actually make matters worse and open up more room for Jihadist groups. What evolved into the Islamic State were simply the worst of these groups. Unless the Americans learn this basic lesson, they will continue to make mistakes in the Islamic world. These mistakes could also indirectly spread instability and migration waves to other regions, including Europe.


1. “The Believer,” by William McCants, published September 1, 2015. William McCants is a fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy and director of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University and has served in government and think tank positions related to Islam, the Middle East and terrorism, including as State Department senior adviser for countering violent extremism. He is the author of Founding Gods, Inventing Nations: Conquest and Culture Myths from Antiquity to Islam.
2. New Revelation: ISIS Leader Originally from Muslim Brotherhood. Posted by Raymond Ibrahim on October 15, 2014.


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25 thoughts on “The Islamic Basis of the Islamic State

  1. American foreign policy in the Middle East is of poor quality and should be revisted asap. Spreading democracy in the middle east should be a no go ever since the experiment in Algeria in the early 90’s resulted in a FIS win and a Syrian style civil war (200k victims and more) after that.

    Both American party’s are on the wrong track when it comes to handling the islamic world. They both should rethink their game plan.

    Unless this fine mess in the Middle East was what they imagined to be the outcome of all their hard ” thinking”.

    • American foreign policy is arguably treasonous. Certainly, it is not in the interests of the USA or its Allies. We have betrayed long time allies like Mubarak and armed a vicious insurgency.

      If the next President is a patriot, he will have spend much of first administration cleaning up the State Department as it is no operating in the interests of the United States.

  2. Be it noted that al-Baghdadi’s self-proclamation as the caliph contained the following passage:

    Soon, by Allah’s permission, a day will come when the Muslim will walk everywhere as a master, having honor, being revered, with his head raised high and his dignity preserved. Anyone who dares to offend him will be disciplined, and any hand that reaches out to harm him will be cut off.

    Everywhere as a master. This is the essence of Islamic supremacy, and al-Baghdadi expressed it by taking as his personal sex slave Kayla Mueller, a 26-year-old humanitarian aid worker from Prescott, Arizona, who did not survive the experience.

    • Once every Moslem can walk everywhere as the master, the real slaughter will begin. For we cannot all be masters. Once the world is mostly Moslem as it will be, the slaughter will dwarf Mao, Stalin and Hitler. In hell they and Pol Pot will be envious. Their cult teaches them to kill anyone not like them, my religion teaches me to love my neighbor as myself. They will win out and the slaughter will be massive as they slaughter each other. Islam is God’s punishment for our sins against him.

      • God rules all things for the benefit and guidance of his church, his people.

        No. Islam will not rule the world — but we will rejoice and sing a song of victory when on the last day its followers will be cast into the lake of fire, Revelation Ch. 19. Start with Ch. 17 in which the great prostitute and the kings of the earth are identified, then read the prediction of her downfall and destruction, and then Ch. 19 when our ruling King’s victory is revealed to all mankind of all time.

        I have three different commentaries on the Book of Revelation to recommend if anyone is interested.

        • Some people, notably Roman Catholics, do not rely on the Bible as the ultimate answer to all things. They. reportedly, are about a third of the U.S. population and much of Europe.

          Biblical quotations are not likely to achieve as much as some might expect.

  3. Western leaders such as U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President François Hollande or German Chancellor Angela Merkel have repeatedly claimed that the actions of the Islamic State have nothing to do with Islam.

    Maybe in their political mind-sets it really is nothing to do with Islam and more to do with the future of their respective nations and peoples?

  4. The undermining of the Middle East through the ‘spreading of democracy’ is a policy that has not been ill thought out through ignorance, but through a studied geopolitical interference designed to collapse the various Islamic dictator run states that until the ‘Arab Spring’ had largely kept the peace within a most volatile tribal affiliated peoples of Islamic sects and other religious groups.

    Syria is the last bastion to this globalist agenda.

    Putin is now being drawn into this scenario and has provided ground troops and much military materiel in an effort to keep Assad in power. Some Western nations are now providing military aircraft strikes against Assad’s enemies (Syrian rebels and ISIS) while a covert American operation is actually supplying Assad’s enemies with money and military equipment in conjunction with overt American military operations that are assisting in killing Assad’s enemies.

    The big questions should be: Who is making lots of money from all of this? And what is the ultimate goal of this ‘interference’?

      • HarrietHT. The first rule of non-violent fight back is to not vote. I know that sounds unpatriotic, but unless the voter has a clear and present understanding of who and what they are voting for and for what those they vote for represent – why do it? The argument against not voting of course is that every vote counts, right! But, if only the rider is being changed on the same horse that takes the votes, then that should be pointed out as the reason for not voting.

        For instance:

        Can you tell the difference between Republican and Democrat today? If you can, I’d like to know about it, so why vote?

        You ask; Who’s behind it? It’s the old age symptom that we are constantly warned about in the Bible – Greed and lust for power and those who cannot wean themselves of it – that unfortunately, is a very human condition we all have to deal with in this life and that some cannot refrain from to the extent that their personal indulgences in positions of authority eventually affect us all.

        For pointers to begin with as to those who affect us the most, I would suggest the old Monarchies of Europe and Britain, their financial institutions are centuries old and have accumulated much wealth for which they will, since the American and French revolutions, fight tooth and nail to preserve.

        Also, do not look beyond the Roman Catholic Church.

        If you question the above, then I would suggest you ask yourself why the British Queen has not spoken out against what is obviously happening within her own realm that even a simpleton could point out – and that applies for the European monarchies as well.

        Why are all they not speaking out?

        It may surprise you to learn that the person who started the Bilderberg meetings was one Prince Bernhardt of the Dutch royal family, also a member of the Nazi party – so is it really any wonder why Geert Wilders is being pursued in the Dutch courts?

        Truth is what matters. You must be able to utter the Truth of the subject that you find yourself – as I do often – defending or promoting, which is of course subject to the conversation at the time. But you must know what you are talking about – and Truth is the most important non-violent weapon we have in this fight!

        And take this on board: Those who have no scruples or would sell their fellow man out for 30 pieces of silver, are the most likely to pander to those who offer them much wealth and power in turn for the loyalty for them to do harm to their peers and to others for their financial benefactor’s advantage.

        That is the world we share, may God preserve us!

        • All of us who CAN think are compelled by concience to vote. No excuses. If we allow the have nots to get what they want from the haves, then we deserve to be dominated by the ignorant masses. The issue of voter fraud (widespread) has to be addressed and corrective action applied. Getting rid of programmable voting machines is paramount. Voter ID has to be strictly enforced.

  5. I think it is possible that leaving Saddam in power could have been worse for us. We know he had a reactor. He was trying to be nuclear at one time. He had chemical weapons. Ask the Kurds. His secular regime had a tinge of western influence and hard science infrastructure in its education system. He probably had a more logical and rational foreign agenda than a swooning theocracy and hence was intrinsically stronger. He might have eventually taken over other states in the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia if he had the bomb.

    But leaving him in certainly could have altered the Iran and Syrian calculus. He would have gone crazy with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and would have surely tried to abort this or match it. What he would have done with Syria’s uprising is not clear.

    How can we know what we should have done at that juncture in 2003? He was not particularly anti-Israel. But he did shoot some scuds in their direction. I bet the Israeli’s would have preferred leaving him in power, cf their Iran dilemma.

    • William. Why was 9/11 allowed to happen? If you can research that question you will then realize that what we are now witnessing in Europe and the Middle East was planned a long time ago.

      Saddam was just the first domino to fall after 9/11.

      Nothing in politics, especially geopolitics, happens by chance.

      • Nemesis,
        I believe you are correct. The apparent ineptitude of western leaders is a red herring. This global plan has been in the works, probably since the second world war, maybe even earlier. We are just now seeing the technical means for which it can be carried out. Follow the money, it always comes down to that.

        Obama is a plant, the fact that he might be a muslim is irrelevant. He is being told what to do – that is obvious , as he is visibly incompetent (as are other western leaders)- the question is, what do they stand to gain from all of this?

        Once Europe is completely invaded and their base culture is eradicated, the new focus will be the US, as we have the only means to resist for any period of time – over 100 million armed citizens, that – so far – have not mobilized in any sufficient numbers. If they ever do (which is questionable), then the world could have a small chance of surviving the coming purge of humanity, but Americans are slow to move, and the social environment in the states is decidedly anti-American, just like it is everywhere else in the west.

        Believe in whatever god or religion you will, but your earth bound safety and happiness and the future of your family relies on you and your like minded neighbors defending each other against the tide.

        May history be kind to us when future generations read about these times – for if we do nothing, then we will be erased from the historical record, and the victors will be victorious because of our failure to stand against evil.

        • “To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

          ― Voltaire

          Since it has nothing to do with islam somebody somewhere must have decided islam and everything they stand for can not be criticized…

      • How on earth was it possible that not one of the professionals tasked with protecting American airspace was not sacked when 9/11 happened.

        Not one. There should have been scores of people who had the finger pointed at them for their failures to protect the WTC.

        After the 1st attempt to destroy the WTC in the mid 1990s, the (Kahanist) Jewish Task Force in New York translaged Arabic documents found by the FBI/police in a NY mosque. The documents showed a new attack was being planned. The JTF broadcast this on their radio station.

        Yet despite the 1st attempted, despite security services finding threatening documents, despite the JTF warning of what was coming — the attacked happened, and not one American was blamed for dereliction in the occurrence of this event.

      • It happened because of bureaucratic glue. We can’t have The Office of the Director of National intelligence, The CIA, the DIA, the NSA, The NGA, the NRO, the AFISRA, the Army Military Intelligence, The Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, the ONI, the OICI, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the CGI, the FBI, the DEA/ONSI, the INR and the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence….and expect good efficient actionable intelligence. So I guess it happened because we allow this structure. Of course, I do not know which of these were active in 9/11/01, but I hope you get my point. It is rather like one definition of entropy: hidden information. I think as any human organization ages, it gains pieces and bits and complexity and nonsense… and entropy increases and, along with entropy, comes chaos. I think the German and Saudi Arabian plans for 9/11 were in that hidden information, but that we must blame the system, not (as far as I know) any individual.

  6. We now have the face of the Prophet on display for us during these latter days. There should be no further doubt as to the nature and character of Islam.
    As for our President and the Departments of State and Defence that he oversees, the Constitution which is 226 years old today (Happy Birthday) requires that the Executive Branch provide for the common defence. The taxes, excises and imposts that we pay are intended to provide secure borders against incursions that would disrupt the peace that is needful for the free, unrestrained flow of commerce.
    The current president has violated this provision of the Constitution and should be indicted and tried as a criminal and a traitor. The rest of us should wake up to the harsh reality of Islam that ISIS presents and see to the common defence against any incursions it would attempt in this country. Part of that ‘wake-up’ should be the repentance for our behaviour during these past fifty years and imploring God (YAH) to be our shield and strong tower. Otherwise, prepare for the slaughter that is almost certain to come.

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