Will the Islamic State disappear?

By Cornelis Van Dam - Posted at the Reformed Perspective:

AN IRAQI FLAG FLIES OVER THE DAMAGED SYRIAC ORTHODOX CHURCH OF ST. EPHRAIM, IN MOSUL, IRAQ - Reformed Perspective


A LOOK AT ISIS, AND ITS PAST, TO GET AN UNDERSTANDING OF ITS FUTURE


About four years ago the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) appeared to have come out of nowhere, creating havoc with its unspeakable brutality and dramatically transforming the political landscape of the Middle East. In short order it had millions under its control in a territory comparable to that of Great Britain, with footholds in Libya, northern Nigeria, and elsewhere as well.

However, it now looks as if the days of ISIS are numbered, with coalition forces having taken the city of Mosul from ISIS in July, and now having the momentum as they seek to destroy ISIS.

GONE FOR GOOD?

But will the battle against what ISIS represents, and its dreams of a caliphate, truly be over if ISIS is wiped off the map of the Middle East? That does not appear likely.

ISIS has been compared to an aggressive cancer. You can take out a local tumor (ISIS in the Middle East), but the cancer then goes to the next phase. It metastasizes, that is, it spreads elsewhere where it is much more difficult to confront and control. We already see this happening in Southeast Asia where the Philippines are in turmoil as the government there grapples with ISIS forces.

But why is the ISIS drive for Islamic domination so difficult to defeat? In seeking an answer to that question, we need to understand what motivates ISIS. Since it claims to be Islamic, we must try to understand the notion and history of the caliphate and its theological origins.

We also need to hear what authoritative Islamic scholars are saying about ISIS and specifically their thoughts about how ISIS justifies everything it does from the Quran.

Finally we will ask what all of this suggests for the future.

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