Establishment academic Walter Russell Mead, writing about the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the Wall Street Journal Monday, declared: “Movements like ISIS don’t spring from nowhere. It took centuries of decline, serial humiliations at the hands of arrogant European imperial powers, and decades of failed postcolonial governance to produce the toxic mixture of bigotry.”
Really? ISIS (and presumably other Islamic jihad terror groups) arise from “serial humiliations at the hands of arrogant European imperial powers, and decades of failed postcolonial governance”? No chance that “movements like ISIS’ might have sprung from Islamic texts such as these?
“And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from where they drove you out; persecution is worse than slaughter. But fight them not by the Holy Mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, kill them — such is the recompense of unbelievers, but if they give over, surely Allah is all-forgiving, all-compassionate. Fight them until there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers.” (Qur’an 2:191-193)
“We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers” (Qur’an 3:151).
“They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore do not take friends from among them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah; then, if they turn their backs, seize them and kill them wherever you find them; do not take for yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.” (Qur’an 4:89)
“This is the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth to do corruption there: they shall be killed, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall be struck off on opposite sides; or they shall be exiled from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement” (Qur’an 5:33).
“When your Lord was revealing to the angels, ‘I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers; so strike the necks, and strike every finger of them!” (Qur’an 8:12).
“Fight them, till there is no persecution and religion is all for Allah; then if they give over, surely Allah sees the things they do” (Qur’an 8:39).
“Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to strike terror into the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them that you know not; Allah knows them. And whatever you spend in the way of Allah shall be repaid you in full; you will not be wronged” (Qur’an 8:60).
“Then, when the sacred months are over, kill the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate” (Qur’an 9:5).
“Fight those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden, and do not practice the religion of truth, even if they are of the People of the Book — until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29).
“Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon Allah in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran; and who fulfils his covenant truer than Allah? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph” (Qur’an 9:111).
“O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you; and let them find in you a harshness; and know that Allah is with the godfearing” (Qur’an 9:123).
“When you meet the unbelievers, strike their necks, then, when you have made wide slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds; then set them free, either by grace or ransom, till the war lays down its loads. So it shall be; and if Allah had willed, He would have avenged Himself upon them; but that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will not send their works astray” (Qur’an 47:4).
Walter Russell Mead would likely reply that the Bible is full of violent passages, too, which is irrelevant to the question of what creates Islamic jihad terror groups, and would insist that there have been many periods during which Muslims were peaceful and evidently did not take the passages above literally. That, too, is false: there have been 14 centuries of uninterrupted jihad warfare, as you can see in The History of Jihad.
So why not mention Islam’s teachings of violence as at least a contributing factor to the rise of ISIS? The Islamic roots of Islamic jihad terrorism are one reality that virtually no one at any point on the political spectrum wishes to address. Mead and other analysts like him, with unconscious paternalism, act as if Muslims were mere passive reactors to what non-Muslims do, and so assume that when Muslims behave violently, the fault must lie with something that non-Muslims did.
This kind of thinking, which is dominant in Washington today and has been for years, leads to aid programs in which we shower billions on Islamic countries (and the Palestinian Authority), hoping to win them over and deal with what has been misidentified as the real root cause of terrorism: poverty.
Instead, authoritarian rulers such as Mahmoud Abbas line their pockets, and Islamic preachers tell their people that the Infidels are just trying to bribe them into discarding Islam, as per the Qur’an: “And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion” (2:120). And nothing productive is ever accomplished, which never stops establishment counterterror analysts from reapplying the same old discredited remedies, over and over again.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facbook here.