To understand the extreme cruelty of ISIS, it is important to understand whom and what they look to for inspiration and guidance.
First of all, ISIS is a group made of up Sunni militants (the majority of Muslims are Sunni), and they follow the 200-year-old teachings of a radical ideologue named Abd al-Wahhab, a man who despised western ideas long before American military operations began in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Image Credit: jafrianews.com
Just like ISIS, Wahhab was strongly influenced by another extremist named Ibn Taymiyya.
American author and expert on Al-Qaeda, Mary Habeck, wrote that Taymiyya called jihad the “best of all voluntary (good actions) which man performs,” even better than the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Translated tweets from ISIS show admiration for Wahhab and Taymiyya:
In English, the heart of this tweet’s meaning is: “One of the best jihad : jihad against the hypocrites in the time of exile, ” Imam Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab”
This tweet says: “God has made his love for the people of two signs : Follow the Sunnah (that is, the alleged way the prophet Mohammed lived his life). And Jihad in the way of Allah.”
Whahhab believed that Islam had strayed from its purest form and that anyone who didn’t submit to that form of it was an “infidel.” ISIS’s destruction of holy sites like the destruction of the tomb of Biblical prophet Jonah…
Image Credit: Vice News
comes from Whahhab’s disgust for shrines and monuments that honor the dead. Like ISIS, Whahhab saw violence and murder as a means to push his beliefs.
Image Credit: NY Daily News
Former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke writes:
Abd al-Wahhab demanded conformity — a conformity that was to be demonstrated in physical and tangible ways. He argued that all Muslims must individually pledge their allegiance to a single Muslim leader (a Caliph, if there were one). Those who would not conform to this view should be killed, their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated, he wrote.
Crooke’s observation aligns perfectly with the ISIS model. They kill anyone who doesn’t pledge allegiance to their Caliph:
Image Credit: Daily Mail
Traffic women and children:
Image Credit: CBC News
Plunder and rob:
Image Credit: NBC News
Furthermore, it is important to recognize that these influences in ISIS ideology came long before any U.S. intervention in Muslim-majority nations.
In addition, Wahhab’s ideas were widely discounted by the Islamic community until the beginning of the 20th century. However, his radical views were able to flourish through the oil boom of the ’70s, and they remain commonplace in today’s Saudi Arabia. This is because he was seen as a thought leader in the country.
As a result, Wahhab inspired terrorists like Bin Laden to carry the torch of terrorism. Bin Laden then handed that torch to ISIS.
Fortunately, most Muslims oppose terrorism and are speaking out against ISIS. We can only hope that the world comes together to stand up against this radical ideology and cripples their twisted vision of a worldwide caliphate, once and for all.