Islamic State?

Yet again on Saturday I heard on the radio the short-sighted analysis declaring the Middle East’s current woes to stem from the Iraq invasion of 2004. Bush, Blair et al in toppling Saddam Hussain created a ferment of instability in the region and hatred for the “occupying powers”, which has directly led to Islamic State’s current butchery. What utter nonsense!
The truth is that this ideology of Sharia-enforcing, everyone else-conforming, ultimately global caliphate has much deeper roots than the last decade. Over 40 years ago, Abdullah Azzam, a former Muslim Brotherhood member, introduced into his writings the idea that jihad in Islam was an individual obligation to recover erstwhile Muslim territories, which is the primary concept used by ideologues to radicalise recruits to fight for an Islamic state. Further back still, according to Sunni Muslims, the prophet of Islam had four “Rightly Guided” caliphs and the Ottoman Empire – last bearer of this tilte – was broken-up in 1924.
Today, there are calls from Muslim imams that news broadcasters should stop referring to “Islamic State” in their coverage because this damages the image of their faith and lures the disillusioned. Instead, reference should be made to how this organisation was originally a splinter from Al’Qaeda. Maybe, but discussion about semantics misses the point.
How has Islam reached the point where tens and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, believe violence can solve their problems and usher in a better society? Surely, Muslims must all look to the Prince of Peace – Jesus Christ – who rode into Jerusalem not on a war horse, but a donkey; who triumped over His enemies not by beheading, but willingly enduring the cruel cross and displaying the extraordinary love of God for wrong-doers. This is the radical ideology that Muslims – and all people – need to recover. Jesus is the only one who can reconcile enemies, break down dividing wall and lead the global kingdom of grace, righteousness and truth.

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