It’s difficult to grasp the concept. Birthed and raised on freedoms including speech and religion, the fanatic adherence to one single doctrine at the expense of all other points of view is difficult to fathom.
Without making light of the situation, we can see a microcosm of that attitude in the passionate following of sports teams (thus “fans”, short for fanatics), even unto sporadic instances of specific violence.
Still, to this point, no one has declared a jihad on anyone who isn’t, say, a Jets fan.
The exclusion of freedoms, which from a Western point-of-view must seem incomprehensible, is the ultimate “elitist club”, one whose members care only to kill or enslave the non-members.
Fathoming the mindset of people who will kill themselves if it destroys many others is nearly impossible to recreate in the mind of someone from the lands of freedom.
In all battles, patriots are those who wish their side to succeed. The “other” side is, at best, the enemy and at worst, monsters. It doesn’t matter which side you’re on.
I wish I could empathize with the plight that drives ISIS to commit these many atrocities (“heroic victories”), but I cannot see that there is a duress other than selfishness.
They don’t fight from religious oppression, but from religious “purity”, which is just another way of saying they demand all people worship in their image of God.
Those that do not comply are deserving of death in their eyes and somehow, through means economic and spiritual, they convince followers to desert their families and end their lives in the pursuit of death and destruction of their (many) enemies.
Because their goals are so extreme, it is likely they can never succeed in fully reshaping the world in their image; their distorted vision of the Quran is rejected by most Muslims.
The seduction of a “pure” Islam, one great caliphate to rule over all, is somehow enough to shutter the eyes and minds of ISIS fighters to the death they bring upon others whose only “crime” is to think differently than they do.
That makes them powerful, as extremism always will, and it makes them doomed, as history always tells us of extremists. Whether this hopelessness is ignored by ISIS “leaders” or used as an empowerment is beyond my meager scope of knowledge.
What is most perplexing is why this continued threat to all freedoms has not created a combined and concerted effort to eradicate its existence.
Petty squabbles, disagreements on tactics and mutual distrust have provided nearly as much aid to ISIS as their own propaganda.
ISIS is dwarfed by the population of non-extremist Muslims worldwide. There should be some way to engage that vast population in support and resistance to the unilateral extermination desired by ISIS.
Bombs and guns may be needed, but ultimately this battle needs to be fought in the minds and hearts of Muslims everywhere.
Hopefully, in the fervor of election rhetoric, we don’t slam shut that door of opportunity. By the time we decide to open it again, we may not find anyone interested in walking through.