The Islamic State presents itself as the absolute and eschatological alternative to the West

This article was published in Oasis 22. Read the table of contents

Last update: 2022-04-22 09:22:34

The treatment reserved by the Islamic State to the Christian minorities is indicative of the type of relationship that the “Caliphate” enters into with its own ideological points of reference: apparently an intransigent application of sharia but, in reality, a selective and sometimes delirious interpretation that is directed at presenting itself as the absolute and eschatological alternative to the West, in keeping with the purest of “friend-enemy” dialectics. Medieval theocracy espouses modern totalitarianism and gives itself over to the will to power.

There is little doubt that the violence unleashed by the Islamic State in the area straddling Syria and Iraq – to the detriment of non-Sunnis and “deviant” Sunnis, above all – has assumed monstrous forms and proportions. In November 2014, i.e. five months after Mosul was taken, a report by Amnesty International was already speaking of an “ethnic cleansing on a historic scale” and stating that “the Islamic State has systematically targeted non-Arab and non Sunni Muslim communities, killing or abducting hundreds, possibly thousands, and forcing more than 830,000 others to flee the areas it has captured since 10 June 2014.”[1] During the same period, a United Nations report used the eloquent expression “rule of terror” to describe life in Syria under ISIS.[2]

The open brutality with which the Islamic State not only plans and perpetrates this violence but also claims responsibility for it and flaunts it (and so much so that it can proudly declare in its magazine Dabiq that “Islam is the religion of the sword, not pacifism”[3]) brings to mind a concept usually associated with the twentieth century, namely, totalitarianism. Not by chance, according to Hannah Arendt’s famous definition, it is terror that is the very essence of totalitarian domination.[4] And yet, a radical difference seems to distinguish the experience of the Islamic State, however atrocious it may be, from genuine totalitarianism. Indeed, to quote Arendt once again, “Totalitarian policy does not replace one set of laws with another, does not establish its own consensus iuris, does not create, by one revolution, a new form of legality. Its defiance of all, even its own, positive laws implies that it believes it can do without any consensus iuris whatever, and still not resign itself to the tyrannical state of lawlessness, arbitrariness and fear. It can do without the consensus iuris because it promises to release the fulfillment of law from all action and will of man; and it promises justice on earth because it claims to make mankind itself the embodiment of the new law… In the interpretation of totalitarianism, all laws have become laws of movement. When the Nazis talked about the law of nature or when the Bolsheviks talk about the law of history, neither nature nor history is any longer the stabilizing source of authority for the actions of mortal men; they are movements in themselves… Terror is the realization of the law of movement.”[5]

In order to be such, totalitarianism therefore requires the immanence of a law that, at the same time, identifies with historical or natural evolution. Nothing could apparently be further from the reality of the Islamic State, which claims, conversely, to be implementing a transcendent law that is absolutely stable insofar as it is divine in origin. Strictly speaking, one could speak of theocracy, and theocracy of the worst sort, but not totalitarianism. But is this truly so? Let us try to look at things a little more closely, taking as the object of our study and term of reference the condition of non-Muslims, particularly Christians, in the Islamic State’s ideology and practice.

In the rhetoric used by ISIS, each community’s condition depends on the status accorded it by divine law. Thus every decision and every action would find its justification in the legal framework established by sharia. For example, the magazine Dabiq reports the debate about the status of the Yazidis that purportedly occurred amongst the jurists before the capture of Sinjar. The aim of the discussion was to “determine if they should be treated as an originally mushrik (“pagan”) group or one that originated as Muslims and then apostatized,” which fact would have resulted in a slight difference in the treatment reserved to some of their members, particularly the women. Having established that they were simply pagans, many families were taken as slaves and sold by the jihadist militants, just as “the mushrikīn (“pagans”) were sold by the Companions [of Muhammad].”[6]

Here, jihadist propaganda intends to demonstrate that the selection of victims and the manner in which they are treated are not the result of arbitrary decisions but, rather, of a rigorous adherence to an external source of norms that precedes and implacably binds the state’s judgment. Thus, if the “fault” of the Yazidis is that they are pagans, the godlessness of the Shi‘ites and other “heterodox” Muslim groups (such as the Alawites) depends on their qualification as râfida (“rejectors”), a term that traditionally denotes the Twelver Shi‘ites (particularly in polemical contexts), whereas the Sunnis who do not observe the Law properly are denounced as murtadd (apostates) and, as such, are considered to deserve death.


The Pact of ‘Umar

The case of the Christians is emblematic of the tangled relationship between legal status and terror. Unlike other groups, Christians can benefit from the dhimma i.e. the protection granted on certain conditions (including payment of a poll tax, the jizya) to the “peoples of Scripture” and the groups assimilated with them. In this respect, Pierre-Jean Luizard has felt able to write, “it cannot be said that the Christian communities have been handed over to the total arbitrariness of a policy of eradication: some rules – cruel, odious rules, to be sure – have been relatively respected.”[7] In the case of the Christians, unlike what has happened to other communities, the jihadist impetus would have been checked by sharia and by the rule deriving from verse 9:29 of the Qur’an, in particular. The latter’s application is set out in detail by the so-called Pact of ‘Umar, a document recording the conditions that were allegedly agreed between the second Caliph (634-644) and the Christian population in Jerusalem when the city was captured in 637.[8]

In 2007, ‘Umar al-Baghdādī, the then leader of the Islamic State (which at that time was simply called the Islamic State in Iraq and was still tied to al-Qaeda), was already stating in a blueprint document that persons belonging to the peoples of Scripture would not be able to benefit from any form of protection since they had violated the pacts agreed with the Muslims and were at war with the Islamic State. Should they wish to return to enjoying a state of security and safety, they would have to strike a new pact with the Islamic State in order to be in conformity with the conditions of the Pact of ‘Umar which they had violated.[9]

Perhaps it is not by chance that the first explosion of savage violence against the Christians dates to precisely that period: a violence to which the archbishop of Mosul, Mons. Paulos Faraj Rahho, amongst others, fell victim and which culminated in the attacks on the Syriac Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad on 31 October 2010.

When the Islamic State (transformed, in the meantime, into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) conquered the Syrian city of Raqqa in 2013, the Christians living there were made to sign a protection document that followed the conditions set out in the Pact of ‘Umar. This document imposed twelve conditions in exchange for which the Christians would obtain protection of their lives, possessions, churches and children:[10] 1) they were not to build new places of worship, churches or monasteries in the city or its vicinity and were not to restore the places of worship that had been destroyed; 2) they were not to wear crosses or take religious books with them in the streets or markets frequented by Muslims and were not to use amplifiers during acts of worship; 3) they were not to let Muslims hear the reading of Christian books or the sound of their bells and were to ring the latter only inside their churches; 4) they were not to carry out actions that were hostile towards the Islamic State, such as harbouring spies or individuals wanted by the state’s justice system, and were to report any conspiracies against Muslims of which they are aware; 5) they were not to carry out rites outside their churches; 6) they were not to prevent any Christian from embracing Islam; 7) they were to respect Islam and the Muslims and not to denigrate any aspect of their religion; 8) they were to pay the jizya: the levy was incumbent on every pubescent male and its amount was four gold dinars for the wealthy, two dinars for people of average income and one dinar for the poor, to be paid in two instalments annually; 9) they were not to carry weapons; 10) they were not to consume pigs or wine in public or trade in them with Muslims; 11) they were to have burial places separate from those of the Muslims; and 12) they were to comply with the rules imposed by the Islamic State, for example, by observing the decorum requirements for clothing, commerce etc. The document (which was then duplicated for the Christians in al-Qaryatayn) ends by establishing that the Christians will enjoy the “protection of God and Muhammad over their lands and their property and their rights and their religion will be respected” for as long as they observe the conditions listed in the “pact.” Failing this, their right to protection would be forfeited and they would be considered enemies of the Islamic State.

These conditions do, in fact, represent the legal frame of reference for regulating the presence of Christians amongst the Islamic umma. Nevertheless, their rigid application (so rigid as to transform protection into a legalized persecution) has only occurred at certain moments of Islamic history and has been used as a sort of “licence in Islamicity” with which some particularly zealous rulers, such as the Umayyad ‘Umar II, the Abbasid al-Mutawakkil, the Fatimid al-Hākim bi-Amr Allah, and the Mamluke al-Nāsir Muhammad Ibn Qalāwūn, equipped themselves.


Anti-Western Pathos

In the case of the Islamic State, too, the rehabilitation and diligent application of a medieval text naturally serves to increase its own religious legitimation. But the way in which the Islamic State draws on Islamic tradition also reveals something more. As Andrew March has noted in the context of an American debate on the relationship between ISIS and Islamic scripture, the Islamic State shares with other jihadi-Salafist movements the reference to a body of practices and legal institutions that do not only refer to Islamic foundation but also have the aim of emphasising an absolute polarization between Islamic rules and modern culture of Western origin:

The reinstitution of slavery, the summary execution of prisoners, and the revival of the dhimma status for non-Muslims do precisely this. They serve to announce the sovereignty of a particular legal order, and the more such practices shock non-Salafis, the more clearly they proclaim the absolute independence and self-sufficiency of the Islamic legal order .[11]

In this perspective, the Islamic State certainly refers to a specific heritage, but according to a logic that is no different from that applied by other radical and anti-Western totalitarian groups. Indeed, the words used by the Italian sociologist Pellicani to describe a movement such as the Khmer Rouge seem tailor-made for the Islamic State as well:

In their homicidal folly there is not only, as in all follies, a method; there is also a specific pathos, precisely that pathos of the radical rejection of Western civilization in all its manifestations.[12]

The pathos is such that it does not even need to express itself in the apologetic tones of a Qaradāwī, the Islamist ideologue who has spent his life boasting the “Islamic solution’s” superiority over other systems and for whom the guarantees offered by the dhimma charter would render the life of non-Muslims better within the umma than outside it.[13] The doctrinaire rigorism of ISIS is inspired, rather, by the “moral violence” of the Ahkām ahl al-Dhimma drawn up by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292-1350)[14] or the ferociously anti-Shi‘ite and anti-Christian intransigence of Ibn Taymiyya (1263-1328), whose name recurs frequently in ISIS’s ideological output and who wrote his infamous fatwas in an era during which, as Suleiman Mourad has noted, the situation in the Middle East was not dissimilar to the one existing today.[15]

Nevertheless, the predilection for these “bad masters” might not be sufficient to explain the Islamic State’s ideology and practices. Indeed, behind the appearance of a rigorous adherence to the sources, its approach to the scriptures reveals a high degree of selectivity. This is demonstrated amongst other things by the choice of the Qur’anic passages normally cited in its writings when referring to Christians: the most hostile ones (such as verses 2:120, 5:51 and 9:29 of the Qur’an) abound, whereas the more accommodating ones are systematically omitted. But the way in which the Pact of ‘Umar is used constitutes further evidence. Once again, it is March who observes how the charter imposed on the population in Raqqa “is a mix of almost ostentatious fidelity to the preserved Pact of ‘Umar text and some intriguing revisions.”[16] The revision that jumps out at one with the greatest immediacy is the one regarding the pact’s form. The pact handed down by Islamic tradition records the voice of the Christians in Jerusalem. It is they who propose the conditions for their protection and it is the Caliph ‘Umar who accepts them. The document produced by the Islamic State has been issued in the name of Abū Bakr al-Baghdādī and the Islamic State and expresses the rules that the Christians must keep in the third person plural (“they will not build”, “they will not show”, “they will not let the Muslims hear” etc.). The Christians are no longer parties to the Pact but have become the objects of it. There are also variations in the content, however, and these take the form both of omissions and of additions. The latter include, for example, the obligation to hand over any individuals who are wanted by the justice system, the specification of the amount of the jizya and the injunction to conform to the rules imposed by the Islamist patrols in matters of public decency and morality.

But even where the text follows the original version more literally, what is most striking is the total disproportion between the precision and solemnity of the text and the paucity of the Christian community living in Raqqa; its members had probably already fled en masse before the Islamic State arrived.[17] Here it appears obvious that those remaining in Raqqa serve only to play the humiliating part of guinea pigs in the renascent Caliphate’s laboratory. Indeed, the Caliphate would not be equal to its own ambitions and its own “Salafitical” purity were it to prove unable to show off a “protected” community over which to watch. Elsewhere, for example at Mosul, where the size of the Christian community was such as to disturb the Islamic State’s paranoid obsession with religious uniformity, the conditions imposed by the jihadists (conversion, payment of the tax at a very high rate or death), the intimidation exercised (one can think of how the houses were marked with the letter “nūn” for nasārā i.e. Nazarenes) and the brutal acts of violence committed have all been highly effective in convincing Christians to take their leave.


A Vendetta in Two Acts

Furthermore, if the treatment meted out to Iraqi and Syrian Christians still preserves a semblance of conformity with sharia, albeit in its most intransigent form, a story like the one of the 21 Copts slaughtered on a Libyan beach by the soldiers of the “Caliphate’s” “Tripolitan province” (Wilāyat Tarābulus) is proof of a delirious conception of Islam. The episode is covered in a certain depth by Issue no. 7 of Dabiq, where it is linked to “the blessed operation” carried out against the Syriac Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad in 2010, in which “more than one hundred crusaders were killed and injured by just five brave istishdiyyīn (“martyrs”) of the Islamic State.” In the account given by the magazine, the attack had the purpose of avenging some Muslims who would have been “tortured and assassinated” by the Coptic Church of Egypt. Here, the article is referring to the story of some women, the most famous being Camilia Shehata, whose mysterious disappearance in July 2010 started a flurry of rumours about her alleged conversion to Islam, thereby sparking a ferocious exchange of accusations between Copts and Muslims. The Islamic State used this episode to justify a ferocious reprisal in two acts against two communities that were, moreover, quite distinct in terms of both rite and Church affiliation: first, against the Catholic Christians in Baghdad “to teach the tāghūt (“demon”) of the Copts – Shenouda – that the price of Muslim blood is costly and so accordingly, if his church persecuted any Muslimah in Egypt, he would be directly responsible for every single Christian killed anywhere in the world;” and then sowing “terror directly in the hearts of the Copts after striking terror in the hearts of their Catholic allies before them.”[18]

That the most appropriate way of interacting with Christians is, according to ISIS, through terror is also confirmed by another article in Dabiq, which describes how the “hearts of the Muslims were healed as they saw their brothers in West Africa terrorizing the Christians and the Nigerian army of murtaddīn” before praising the region’s Mujahideen because “they did not fear the blame of any critics when they captured and enslaved hundreds of Christian girls, even as the crusader media machine put the brunt of its strength into focusing the world’s attention on the issue.”[19]

In short, the Islamic State’s position regarding Christians can certainly play on a real textual foundation (starting with verse 9:29 of the Qur’an). In this respect, one cannot fail to point out, en passant, a particularly grating dissonance between Islamic tradition and the values of modernity: a dissonance that has, moreover, led various Muslim thinkers to call in no uncertain terms for a reform that has the courage to make a clean epistemological break with the heritage of the past. However, the treatment reserved to potential dhimmī and, more generally, to all the non-Sunni populations in the region of Syria and Iraq cannot be traced back exclusively to religious normativity: not because the Islamic State’s ideology does not draw on elements actually present in the founding texts or in Islam’s legal thinking, but because the latter are not enough to explain the nihilistic charge that drives Caliph al-Baghdādī’s followers.


The Caliphate under Indictment

It is no coincidence that ISIS’s “gestures” have managed to provoke an unprecedentedly unanimous surge of disapproval in an otherwise extremely fragmented Muslim world. It is, in fact, quite surprising that those who have condemned the Islamic State persecutions have not just been liberal Islam’s enlightened thinkers or the Egyptian mosque Al-Azhar, which sees itself as the beacon of a “middle-of-the-road” Islam, but also those “old guard” jihadi-Salafists (the al-Qaeda generation, just to be clear) who, until a few years ago, were considered the worst incarnation of evil.

For example, the jihadi ideologue Abū Qatāda al-Filastīnī, has said that

the imposition of the jizya on Christians in Raqqa is illegal, since it must result from a pact between two contracting parties, one of whom is not present,” before stating more specifically that, in Syria, the Mujahideen “are not yet able to guarantee protection of the Christians’ persons and property and it is therefore illegal to collect money from them without providing a service in exchange.[20]

Another ideologue, ‘Azzām al-Amrīkī, has gone as far as calling into question the ruthless al-Zarqāwī, the Islamic State’s “noble” father, by recalling how the sheikh

had made it clear that his policy was limited to fighting the groups in conflict with Muslims and those supporting the crusaders’ occupation in Iraq, whilst he had no interest in fighting other groups such as the Yazidis, the Sabaeans, the Mandaeans and the Christians.[21]

But it is sheikh Abū al-Mundhir al-Shinqītī, another prominent representative of jihadist ideology, who has grasped the Islamic State’s motive most accurately:

For al-Baghdādī, the policy of aggression towards Christians and Yazidis has been necessary – despite the risks it carries – in order to foster the illusion of the Caliphate in his troops and reinforce in them the idea that they and they alone represent Islam today.[22]


The Islamic State’s Theo-Manichaeism

These words from al-Shinqītī, who is evidently familiar with the jihadi movements’ programming language, and the remarks above, regarding the Islamic State’s victims, allow us to return to the parallel between the Islamic State and totalitarianism mentioned at the beginning of this article.

First of all and as al-Shinqītī suggests, the Islamic State does not apply Islam. Far more radically, it intends to be its exclusive representative. Its separation from al-Qaeda during the course of 2013 not only has a strategic and military significance but also signals, precisely, ISIS’s self-sufficiency: its legitimacy no longer depends on external recognition. This process of emancipation is sealed by the proclamation of the Caliphate. With the latter’s advent, according to the statement made by the Islamic State spokesman on 29 June, “the legitimacy of all the emirates, groups, states and organizations over which the Caliph’s power extends and those that are reached by his army comes to an end.”[23] The re-founding of the Caliphate, which allows the umma to go back to “enjoying the taste of honour [and which is] the dream that is to be found in every believing Muslim’s innermost part and the hope for which the heart of every monotheist fighter thrills,”[24] has, by virtue of its demagogic power, the same function as that which the myth of the Reich had in Hitler’s rhetoric. Taking up Arendt’s clarification once more, one could observe that the Reich claimed to incarnate a totally new order, the beginning of a new era in which “mankind – or, more precisely, its privileged part: the German people, the perfect incarnation of the Herrenrasse – would have put the time of universal corruption behind it and taken the road leading to a progressive liberation from all the limitations that had demeaned and degraded it in the past .”[25] The Caliphate, on the other hand, by definition refers to a past era, to an order and a mankind that have already existed and must be restored in obedience to the transcendence and stability of divine laws, rather than a law of nature in perennial movement. Nevertheless, al-Baghdādī’s Caliphate, too, is in reality totally bent on a palingenetic regeneration of mankind, in which Islam’s fight against the world’s three evils – unbelief (kufr), idolatry (shirk) and apostasy (irtidād) – is no different from the deadly war between races (Nazism) or classes (Bolshevism). Indeed, it wrecks people and things with the same “pantoclastic fury” of a Hitler or a Lenin, destroying “the existing order down to the very last stone”[26] with a view to the imminent coming of eschatology’s end time, a theme that is no less present or powerful in the ISIS propaganda than it was in the rhetoric of the two great European instances of totalitarianism. And the list of homologies could go on.

What makes the only apparently impossible affinity between totalitarianism and the Islamist theocracy of the neo-Caliphate real is the “circular” nature of political theology. As the Italian philosopher Massimo Borghesi explains,

political theology… is dialectical. For it, the theological moment is realised through the political and the political via the theological. In passing “through”, in realising themselves through something other-than-self, the two moments run into a metamorphosis. It is in this sense that political theology constitutes a formula for secularization: a secularization both of the theological, which identifies the civitas Dei with the civitas Mundi, and of the political, when it becomes a political religion in the sense meant by Löwith or Voegelin. Secularization is the “circle” in which the transcendent becomes immanent and the immanent, in its turn, takes on a totalizing religious emphasis precisely in order to be able to close itself in its own immanence.[27]

This fundamental passage also allows one to understand the difference between al-Baghdādī’s “Caliphate” and the classical Islamic Caliphate. Indeed, Borghesi adds that it is necessary to draw a fundamental distinction between traditional political theology, which can take a theocratic or Caesaropapist form and produces a secularization of religion, and post-Christian political theology, which

results from that form of politics that, in becoming total, becomes religion. Here it is the worldly that becomes theological and not vice versa. In this case, however, political theology, far from being the secularization of Christianity, becomes – as in Carl Schmitt’s texts – a theo-manichaeanism, a gnostic political theology… From the structural point of view, the difference between the two forms of theology stems from the friend-enemy dialectic that, unnecessary in “Christian” political theology, is essential in gnostic political theology.[28]

It is more on this ground than that of traditional theocracy that the Islamic State meets totalitarianism. It is not by chance that, precisely by virtue of the dynamic that Borghesi describes in relation to Christianity, classical Islam, too, has experienced a secularization of political power and a certain distinction – in actual fact if not in its ideas – between the spiritual and the temporal spheres. In the Syrian-Iraqi neo-Caliphate, on the other hand, it is a logic of ferocious opposition – to the West, to non-Muslims and to “heterodox” Muslims – that defines the State’s nature and objectives. The Caliphate is proclaimed because of its capacity to mobilize symbolic, media and martial energies. We are evidently being confronted by an extreme case of religion’s exploitation; not in the sense that Islam is being used consciously as part of a rationally calculated plan to achieve political goals. The militant jihadists truly believe what they are saying and in what they are doing: were it to be otherwise, their willingness to die for the Islamic State’s cause would be inexplicable. Exploitation, rather, in the sense that Islam ends up being totally absorbed by the will to power. It is the opting first for an assertion of the umma and a rebuilding of the Caliphate – with all the resulting terror – that generates a specific interpretation of sharia. The tragic case of the Jordanian pilot sentenced to the stake is an emblematic demonstration of this: a death penalty first decided in theory and then ratified by an ad hoc fatwa that horrified the influential jihadi ideologue, Abū Muhammad al-Maqdisī.

Al-Baghdādī’s Caliphate is certainly a perversion. But it is also the incarnation of political Islam’s essence when its logic is taken to extremes; when religion wears so thin that it dissolves into total war against the enemy. Renouncing “the chimera of the Islamic State”[29] for once and for all would save many lives and it would also save Islam.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Oasis International Foundation

[1] Amnesty International, Ethnic cleansing on a historic scale. The Islamic State systematic targeting of minorities in northern Iraq, p. 4. The document is available at

[2] United Nations, Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, Rule of Terror: Living under ISIS in Syria,

[3] Dabiq 7, p. 20.

[4] See Hannah Arendt, The Origin of Totalitarianism (Harcourt, New York, 1976), p. 464.

[5] Ibid., pp. 462-463, 465.

[6] Dabiq 4, pp. 14.

[7] Pierre-Jean Luizard, Le piège Daech. L’État islamique ou le retour de l’histoire (La Découverte, Paris, 2015), p. 166.

[8] See the French translation in André Ferré, “Protégés ou Citoyens ?,” Islamochristiana, 22 (1996), pp. 79-117 and pp. 115-117, in particular. The Pact of ‘Umar was probably, in reality, subsequent to the era of the Rightly Guided Caliphs; see Arthur S. Tritton, The Caliphs and Their Non-Muslims Subjects. A Critical Study of the Covenant of ‘Umar (Humphrey Milford-Oxford University Press, London, 1930).

[9] See Cole Bunzel, From Paper State to Caliphate. The Ideology of the Islamic State, The Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, Analysis Paper n. 19 (March 2015),

[10] The document’s text can be found at

[11] Andrew March and William McCants, Experts weigh in (part 3): How does ISIS approach Islamic Scripture?,

[12] Luciano Pellicani, La rivoluzione cambogiana, in Id., Rivoluzione e totalitarismo (Marco Editore, Lungro di Cosenza 2004), p. 3.

[13] See Bishara Ebeid, Le relazioni con il non-musulmano nel radicalismo contemporaneo, in Andrea Plebani and Martino Diez (Eds), La galassia fondamentalista. Tra jihad armato e partecipazione politica (Marsilio, Venice, 2015).

[14] See Marie-Thérèse Urvoy, La violence morale dans les Ahkâm ahl al-Dhimma d’Ibn Qayyim al-Jawiziyya, in Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi (Ed.) Islam: identité et altérité : hommage à Guy Monnot, o.p., Brepols (Turnhout, 2013), pp. 411-418.

[15] Sulaymān Murād, “Limādha yakrah Ibn Taymiyya Jabal Lubnān?,” Al-Safīr, 15 March 2014, Regarding Ibn Taymiyya’s anti-Shi‘ite and anti-Christian rancorously spiteful envy, see also Id., “The Forbidden Fruits of Mont Lebanon,” Oasis, 18 (2013), pp. 97-101.

[16] Andrew March and William McCants, Experts weigh in (part 3): How does ISIS approach Islamic Scripture.

[17] See Aryn Baker, “Al-Qaeda Rebels in Syria Tell Christians to Pay Up or Die,” Time, 28 February 2014,

[18] Dabiq 7, p. 30-32.

[19] Dabiq 8, p. 14.

[20] Tāmir al-Samādī, “Abū Qatāda li-l-Hayāt: Fard al-jizya fī Sūriya ghayr jā’iz wa u’ayyid mahlat al-Jawlānī,” Al-Hayāt, 27 February 2014,

[21] Kata’ib Rad‘ al-Khawārij, Qālū ‘an dawlat al-Baghdādī. Aqwāl al-‘ulamā’ al-‘āmilīn wa ahl al-ra’y al-mu‘tabarīn wa qādat al-jihād al-mayāmīn fî khawārij dawlat al-māriqîn, Mu’assasat Kata’ib Rad‘al-Khawārij, August 2015, pp. 50-51.

[22] Ibid., p. 81.

[23] Abū Muhammad al-‘Adnānī, Hadhā wa‘d Allah,

[24] Ibid.

[25] Luciano Pellicani, Hitler e Lenin. I due volti del totalitarismo (Rubbettino, Soveria Mannelli 2009), p. 92.

[26] Ibid., p. 93.

[27] Massimo Borghesi, Critica della teologia politica. Da Agostino a Peterson: la fine dell’era costantiniana (Marietti 1820, Genoa-Milan, 2013), pp. 13-14.

[28] Ibid.

[29] See Martino Diez, “The Chimera of a State for the Qur’an,” Oasis, 21 (2015), p. 130.

To cite this article

Printed version:
Michele Brignone, “ISIS or The Preferential Option for Terror”, Oasis, year XI, n. 22, November 2015, pp. 78-89.

Online version:
Michele Brignone, “ISIS or The Preferential Option for Terror”, Oasis [online], published on 27th January 2016, URL: