“Islamic State” and the state of Islam
For a long time Islam’s adversaries have been salivating at the opportunity to manipulate Islam from within. As early as 1981, A.J. Quinnell made this the subject of his novel “The Mahdi” in which Western security services try to groom a Mahdi whom they control in order to direct Muslim behaviour. The plot is not as far-fetched as was suggested by critics back then. Having created a modern-day version of the assassins of old and calling them Islamic State has been a master stroke and done more to discredit Muslims and Islam than any other covert mission since Lawrence of Arabia helped incite the Arabs against the Turks to pave the way for the Zionist state whilst the Arabs mistook him to be their advocate. Likewise, with IS, you would think that only the blind can fail to see who is behind fanatics with strong self-righteous “Islamic” rhetoric, armed to the teeth with American hardware, but persistently abstaining from ever criticising, never mind harming, Israeli interests, whilst happily burning a Palestinian flag as a sign of misguided nationalism. But alas, there are many Muslims who seem to prefer walking around with their eyes closed.
Whereas IS was purposefully created not just to discredit Islam but to provide the pretext for Western engagement in a proxy war with Russia over Syria in violation of international law, it would be rash for Muslims to dismiss them as if their effects did not reach well beyond the region in which they operate. Hate preachers with views close to those of IS abound throughout the Muslim world, financed by the petrol dollars of Saudi Arabia, the beneficiary of Lawrence’s British sponsors and key ally of the United States and, by implication, Israel. During the first decade of the 19th century their Wahhabi forebears ransacked Mecca, Medinah and Ta’if under the leadership of Saud ibn Abdul Aziz with a violence against Muslim men, women and children everything as brutal as their IS successors today, destroying tombs and burial grounds, mosques and madrasahs. Whilst the Ottoman caliphate eventually regained control, the rebel group managed to hold out in the Najd and eventually, with the help of British cunning that hailed the end of the caliphate, installed themselves back in the holy land where they have styled themselves the custodians of the holy places whilst continuing to dismantle and destroy Muslim heritage ever since, turning cherished relics of Muslim history into hotels and parking lots and exporting a version of Islam which aims to throw away fourteen centuries of its rich history under the pretext of referring back directly to the source.