Another interesting tidbit in The Atlantic article is that ISIS propaganda includes dramatic talk of the End Days, which they say are happening now (similar to what some Christian fundamentalists preach). The Muslims are waiting for the Mahdi to appear. This is the ruler that will lead them to victory in the final battle, to take place in Jerusalem, a holy city to both Christians and Muslims. Scarily enough, The Koran says the first battles of the End Days will happen in Syria! Specifically, in a town called Dabiq. Today, it’s a farming town. That’s why the ISIS propaganda magazine is called Dabiq.
Next, a powerful military leader from Iran will appear and start winning more and more battles. But the Koran also says ISIS/the Muslims will suffer heavy losses, and by the time the last battle happens in Jerusalem only 5,000 fighters will be left.
Then – brace yourself – Jesus returns to earth, but not to fight on the side of the Christians. No, Jesus wins the war for ISIS! (Jesus is, in fact, an important prophet in the Koran. But Muslims do not consider him to be the son of God.)
The author also explains that ISIS followers are no fans of Al-Qaeda and he thinks it’s unlikely that the two groups will join forces. Al-Qaeda does not promote the End Days drama (neither did bin Ladin). And Al-Qaeda does not recognize IS as a new caliphate. According to Wikipedia, another Islamic terrorist group that ISIS is not friends with is Hamas. However, some of the Chechen rebel groups near Russia have pledged allegiance to the caliphate, as did Boko Haram which is active in Nigeria and other African countries.
I agreed with this quote in the article: “The US and its allies have reacted to the Islamic State belatedly and in an apparent daze.” Also, just over one year ago, President Obama referred to ISIS or ISIL as “the JV team” to Al-Qaeda. The President seems out of touch! He only wants to bomb ISIS, but some political commentators think we need to send 10,000 troops to defeat ISIS. (I think we will eventually be forced to send troops.)
On a side note, I really wish Obama would stop calling them ISIL! If he doesn’t want to call them ISIS, he could use the new European word for them, DAESH or DA’ISH. I’ve heard it pronounced as “dash” although the more Arabic way to pronounce it is “diesh.” I looked it up, and it started in Arab-speaking Iraq because the letters in it are taken from the Arabic word of what ISIS calls itself. Now that they are officially a caliphate, they call themselves Islamic State in arabic, so the acronym doesn’t fit anymore. But DAESH is a popular new name for ISIS because it doesn’t include the word “state” in it. Calling them DAESH takes away their statehood status. I also looked up the meaning of ISIL – Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (an old term for Syria, Turkey and the area around Israel) – and ISIS – Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. I guess DAESH might be a good name for them so we don’t have to keep changing it whenever they take over new lands!
Oh, another thing I learned is that Constantinople, now called Istanbul and the capital of Turkey, is predicted in the Koran to fall to the Muslim army.
I learned a lot from this article! Read the whole article, titled What ISIS Really Wants on The Atlantic website.