The principles of the pint-sized caliphate now bestriding the irrelevant, because nation-state-based, border between Syria and Iraq, have been set out with clarity, and appropriate Qur’anic textual support for every detail, by Al-Baghdadi, speaking in the Grand Mosque in Mosul. It was an edifying speech, and the practice of his men, in enforcingÂ the True IslamÂ in Mosul, equally edifying. Muslims are in two kinds of panic. One is the panic of realizing thatÂ in every Muslim country, there are plenty of people who really are deep believers in the Full Islam, the Islam of Qur’an and Hadith and Sira without any modifications or compromises. And these people are not only numerous, but are adept at persuading others that this is the true islam — it isn’t hard, for there are the texts of the Qur’an, the interpretative principle of naskh, or abrogation, to sweep away the softer, at times contradictory verses of the so-called “Meccan verses.” The texts are with al-Baghdadi and his men, and with all the potential local al-baghdadis, and their men, everywhere in Muslim lands. And this has dawned, I suspect, on quite a few Muslims who would prefer the compromises that Musliims make with Muslim doctrine in order to lead, not lives that we in the non-Musllim West can lead — that wouldÂ be impossible — but at least lives that are semi-bearable because large parts of Islamic teachings are simply ignored.
The second source of panic may be called “Damage To The Image Of Islam.” The mass shootings, crucifixions, beheadings of which ISIS is so inordinately proud, and puts up on Youtube as a recruiting device, just like the filmed beheadings of Daniel Pearl, and of a dozen or more Western hostages in Iraq, including people who had come, like the American who rushed there to help build raido towers, because they knew nothing about Islam but belived all that American-government-generated nonsense about “helping the brave people of Iraq.” The image of Islam is being fixed in amber, and it’s about time, and not because of anything non-Muslims, properly prepared, have pointed out, but because of the perceived behavior of Muslimns all over the world. And the Caliphate, the Truest of True-Blue Believers, is run by people who are trying to emulate, in every respect, Muhammad and the earliest Muslims. And it is Muhammad, and the earliest Muslims, and the Sharia, that are the permanent guide for Muslims, for all time, if they are indeed true Muslims. Many Muslims are not, and the list of things they do not fully observe — including such things as the ban on most music and most forms of expression in art (save for calligraphy, and mosque architecture) — makes them, in the brown eyes of true-blue Muslims, “hypocrites.”
Muslims still cling to Islam, defend Islam, regard islam itself as the true object of worship in Islam, and they don’t dare admit that the unexamined Sharia life is hardly worth living. And so they become caught in ever-more absurd statements about “the true Islam” which is supposed to be so very different from what ISIS offers in its dimidiated caliphate, but have no texts — in a faith based entirely on texts, and their right interpretation, with the Sunna (Hadith and Sira) employed as the supreme gloss on the Qur’an — to quote, and are left only to bleat again and again that ISIS, “Daesh,” the Caliphate, Al-Baghdadi, “do not represent Islam.” Oh yes they do.
Sisi, who is not quite an Ataturk,Â is forced by circumstances — the dismal circumstances oftoo few resources and too many people in a country that cannot support even half the current population — to be an Egyptian nationalist (with little of Nasser’s pan-Arab fantasies, because that was tried by Egypt and found wanting) thinks Iraq should stay together, and the Kurds remain in Iraq. He thinks an independent Kurdistan would be “catastrophic.” And so it would be, yes, but not for the world’s non-Muslims. Not for the world’s non-Arabs, including many non-Arab Muslim peoples — such as the Berbers — who will begin to get ideas.
And the spectacle of the Arabs, even the good ones (Al-Sisi), trying to throttle a nascent Kurdish state, will make it much easier to point out the hypocrisy of the Arabs, who are not satisfied with one, or two, or five, or ten, or twenty, or twenty-two Arab states, but want still another one called “Palestine,” carved out of still more of the territory once allocated by the civilized and well-informed people who created the Mandates system after World War I and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, to Mandatory Palestine for the sole and express purpose of establishing the Jewish National Home.
Independent Kurdistan is going to damage the Arab cause, and the Muslim cause, in the minds of many.
And that will be good.