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Very Interesting

Reader comment on item: What Do Terrorists Want? [A Caliphate and Shari'a]

Submitted by Alex (United States), Jul 13, 2014 at 15:22

One important note that I would add concerning the new declaration of the caliphate now is that the Islamic State, in soliciting an oath of loyalty (bay'ah) to the new "Caliph Ibrahim," said that such an oath was a collective obligation on all Muslims (fard kifaya) that canceled all previous political obligations and sovereignty--implying in effect that the previously established oath of allegiance to Mullah Omar that global Sunni jihadists like Al Qaeda had previously used as a basis for commanding terrorism now makes one an enemy of god! This point ought to be taken seriously, as the Idlamic State already assassinated very, very senior Al Qaeda commanders in in Syria over the past months. One further point is the content of "Caliph Ibrahim's" Mosul sermon. I read it in Emglish and Arabic, and it contained no specific political or historical content.

In my mind, this change from a political platform as had previously existed with the now defunct ISIS group is reminiscent of the shift that Hitler affected from political ideology to a new, more vague agenda after gaining full power, as Hannah Arendt noted. The significant difference with the Islamic State and previous fully totalitarian regimes in power is that the IS does not have control over a modern state, and also that the IS is appealing to genuine historical tradition and popular sentiment. I predict that this new totalitarianism will as a result be both less effective and longer lasting. I hate to trouble Dr. Pipes, but I would be eager to learn his thoughts on my comparison of the new "caliph's" message to those of previous totalitarian leaders when they assumed power.

Submitting....

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Daniel Pipes replies:

Not troubling me at all. Your learned discussion is enlightening. But, in a piece going to press shortly, I come down on the other side, predicting that the caliphate will be short lived.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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