Wednesday, April 24, 2024

One solution to fanaticism

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ON MONDAY, APRIL 20, both sections of the Press informed their readership of the latest ISIS atrocity – the beheading of 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya.

Why does ISIS consistently act with such savage irrationality? What goals does it seek by slaughtering and alienating other Muslims, beheading and incinerating hostages, stoning adulterous women to death, throwing gays off buildings and sacrificing thousands of its fighters in losing battles to retain captured cities such as Kobani and Tikrit?

For ISIS, there are no recognisable cost-benefit analyses. Slaughtering infidels is not a means to an end – it is the end. To an even greater degree than al-Qaeda or Boko Haram or al Shabab, ISIS is an utterly fanatical group – a mass death cult fired by an intoxicating vision of Islamic purity.

While moderate Muslims are quick to claim that ISIS is not Islamic, the reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. The religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

This vision of Islamic purity has attracted not only psychopaths but also thousands of young men who’ve traded lives of powerlessness for a thrilling and pitiless campaign against a corrupt world. In videos, ISIS fighters are often seen beaming with exultation, as if intoxicated with their power.

History has taught us that charismatic leaders offering absolute purity can seduce large groups of people and even entire nations, and that these regimes can be stronger and more enduring than rational analysis would predict.

Such fanaticism can be stopped only one way – by killing the people infected with it.

– CHARLES KNIGHTON

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