If ISIS Is Not Islamic, then the Inquisition Was Not Catholic

Sep 23, 2014

By Jerry Coyne

 

As ISIS slaughters its way though Syria and Iraq, it became inevitable that we’d hear from apologists who claim that ISIS is not in fact “true Islam,” and that its depredations are due to something other than religious motivation. Those motivations, say the apologists, are political (usually Western colonialism that engenders resentment), cultural (societal tradition), or anything other than religion.

These apologists, of course, which now include President Obama, are motivated by a desire to avoid criticizing religion at all costsespecially Islam. In America, criticizing religion is political suicide, and Obama naturally wants to do all he can to encourage “moderate” Muslims. As Sam Harris concluded on a post on his website, some “scholars and pseudo-scholars” cling to a ludicrous notion that the actions of jihadis like those of ISIS aren’t motivated by religion. As he noted: “experts claim that one can’t take Islamists and jihadists at their word: Their incessant declarations about God, paradise, martyrdom, and the evils of apostasy are nothing more than a mask concealing their real motivations.”

The apologists are also motivated by another form of denial. Yes, they say, jihadis may be motivated by Islam, but it’s not “true” Islam. True Islam is peaceful, and its adherents would never slaughter apostates, behead journalists, or forcibly convert non-Muslims. This is what Obama said the other night when explaining his plan to dismantle ISIS (or “ISIL,” as he calls it):

Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. … ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple.

 

Read the full article here.

14 comments on “If ISIS Is Not Islamic, then the Inquisition Was Not Catholic

  • These apologists, of course, which now include President Obama, are motivated by a desire to avoid criticizing religion at all costs—especially Islam.

    Americans have been more than willing to verbally, politically and militarily attack Islam since 9/11. America’s Judaeo-Christian values, however, are sacred. Since ISIS has become the bogeyman, Obama can hardly ‘criticize’ Islam, in general, since all his allies in the region , in the coalition against ISIS, are Islamic.



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  • 3
    Katy Cordeth says:

    I’m at a loss to understand why this very interesting article from last week has only three comments to its name.

    I’ll get things going: Did anyone else wonder why Mr Coyne chose to enclose the word moderate within quotation marks in the second paragraph?



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  • -grumble, I usually don’t care for analysis provided on these problems. I always get the impression that you may have a hard time applying it usefully toward the problems themselves.

    It’s fine to abstract away from the details, but I still want to think you actually know what some of the details are and can hook up your analysis to them in a meaningful and useful way.

    That’s gotta be a helluva trick though, and probably invaluable and therefore rare.



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  • Katy Cordeth Oct 1, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you Alan.

    Thanks appreciated, – but I noticed that you had spotted the duplication for yourself when I posted it 2 minutes after your comment, – so I deleted my comment as superfluous.



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  • 13
    Katy Cordeth says:

    Yeah, I know. I was thankin’ you anyway for the thought.

    You have a pretty good memory for what goes on on this site. I wonder if you can recall when the clip Mr Rimmer just linked to was discussed here at RDnet. It was a troika of threads, one from Sam Harris, another from Jaclyn Glenn, and the last from person or persons unknown (to me), but all having to do with the same bit of video from that Norwegian “peace conference” as Coyne scare-quotes it.

    I remember saying “But that’s not true, is it, Jaclyn?” or words to that effect if that’s a help. Under the old regime I would have searched for this stuff myself but as you know, users’ comment streams are no longer a thing.

    Put that positronic matrix of yours to work if you would be so kind.



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  • Katy Cordeth Oct 1, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Put that positronic matrix of yours to work if you would be so kind.

    Sorry, I don’t recall this one.

    BTW: I find stuff either by doing a search, or by using a selection of bookmarks of discussions I think will be of future interest.



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