ISIS is pure, uncomplicated Islam in its most genuine, original form.
President Obama made another revelation recently, claiming that ISIS "speaks for no religion." It is not his personal opinion. Respected professors, journalists, columnists, philosophers from Paris to San Francisco share this view. They really want to believe in it, otherwise the idea that true evil comes from the West only, and the Islamic movement is no more than a form of "national struggle of the oppressed people", becomes meaningless. Unfortunately, ISIS is pure, uncomplicated Islam in its most genuine, original form.
Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, is religion that interprets the divine revelation literally; they believe that the fulfillment of God's laws is the only way to perfection, salvation and harmony.
God in all of these religions is anthropomorphic, omnipotent and immanent. Like a father, He is strict and at the same time fair to His children; He knows their every step and judges them according to His laws. He may be jealous, merciful, rigid, compassionate and solicitous. He can reveal his face and can conceal it, but the believer doesn't have any other option except to believe that the Father on Heaven cares about him no matter what.
His laws are irreversible. His will determines everything and everyone: tasks of a government, relations between the ruler and his subjects, punishments for crimes, individual freedoms, gender relations and the state of minorities, public aid to the weak and feeble.
Human intervention in Divine instructions is blasphemy which inevitably results in a severe punishment. Moreover, the followers of fundamentalist religions are inclined to believe in "conspiracies of evil."
Time and misery, humanistic ideal and rational thinking have changed the nature of the once rigid Jewish and Christian beliefs, but not Muslim's. Muslims were never and aren't aware of their own blind hatred and fanaticism, they are not appalled by these, they've never underwent a catharsis which will allow them to look inside themselves. Islam has never known reflections, doubts and spiritual dissatisfaction, as prophetic Judaism in epoch of Judges and Kings, or Christianity. Movements of spiritual protest, as the Essenes were in Jewish history, or Waldenses, Cathars and Hussites in medieval Europe, were unfamiliar to Islam. It is proud of its own perfection, immutability, monumentality.
It strives to expansion, which is prescribed by the Qur'an and Hadith. Religious commandments and regulations of Islam are neither a choice nor an allegory. These are literal and undeniable Divine commandments: very specific and covering the areas of human existence to full extent. Muslims strongly believe that Allah reveals himself in every sign and every phenomenon: they find His name in shape of clouds, spots on animals, a mole on skin, interweaving of tree's branches, contours of stones.
Islam divides humanity into Dar al-Islam (House of Islam) with righteous, divine laws of Islam, and into Dar al-Harb (House of War) with chaos, infidelity and false (or at best, imperfect) teachings. House of Islam and House of War are doomed to confrontation which must end by triumph of "true religion." It is considered a divine mission of Islam, and other interpretations of the Koran and the sacred texts – "Hadith" do not exist.
The problem is not the ruthless uprooting of heresies, but in the fact that the heresies simply do not exist. There were countless attempts in the Medieval Europe to undermine monolith of Dogma and return the spirituality to Christianity: from the Troubadours to Proto-Renaissance to Lollards and Waldenses.
We haven't seen anything like this in the Muslim world. Only in Sunni Islam minor disagreements have occurred about the way to create a "World State of Sharia": by preserving immutable and indestructible law ("Salafis") or by adopting modern political tools, such as democratic elections, the parliamentary system and legal institutions ("Muslim Brothers"). But the main goals remain the same. In Shia Islam only ayatollahs have supreme, exclusive and indisputable power, without any hint of rational or humanist understanding of religion.
The enemies of Islam are subject to destruction and humiliation. Judaism and Christianity for Muslims are the ugly, weak shadow of only one true religion. The Yazidi, followers of dualism, are "servants of Evil" and must be destroyed physically, and in terrible agony, as "children of Satan."
"Conspiracy Theories" are not prejudices of ignorant masses, but an integral part of the ruling elite. In July 2014 Iranian state TV translated a discussion with Valliollah Naghipourfar, cleric and professor of Teheran University, who claimed that Zionists use genies to undermine Iran; in April 2013 well-known Iranian cleric and close confidante of Ayatollah Khamenei warned about "global Jewish sorcery"; in December 2010 Said Mohamed Abdel-Fadli Shusha, governor of South Sinai, spoke about a shark sent by "Mossad" to hurt tourists in Egypt"; in Gaza HAMAS arrested 150 women, accused them in witchcraft and the list goes on.
The doctrine of fundamentalist Islam sees death through "jihad" is a blessing, that's the reason the Sunni Hamas, and Shiite "Hezbollah" say that "they love death." Therefore, they are doing everything possible to communicate this simple idea to the ordinary, and not too zealous co-religionists by slighting and intimidating them.
It is only in our time of neo-Marxist clichés and naivety, Islam could be called "a religion of peace." Philosophers and historians of Enlightenment and 19th century, unlike our contemporaries, were not hypocrites.
David Hume described the Quran as an "absurd performance" of a "pretended prophet" who lacked "a just sentiment of morals." Voltaire called Muhammad "the founder of a false and barbarous sect" and "a false prophet." Helvetius wrote that Islam dreamed to conquer the world "by fire and sword." Alexis de Tocqueville: "I studied the Koran a great deal ... I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad." The Church historian Philip Schaff: "Mohammedanism conquered the fairest portions of the earth by the sword and cursed them by polygamy, slavery, despotism and desolation; the moving power of Islam was fanaticism and brute force." Ernest Renan called Islam "the heaviest chains which have ever shackled humanity."
Escapism has always been inherent in people. But it has never manifested itself with such power and scale of an entire civilization as we witness today.
Alexander Maistrovoy is a columnist for the Israeli Russian-language newspaper Novosty Nedely.