The Islamic State: A Historical, Ideological, and Methodological Analysis of the Organization and its Rhetoric
The Islamic State also known as ISIS is an organization and a self-proclaimed state that emerged from many diverse factors. Its roots lie with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (1966—2006), the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the ideologies of various modern-day Jihadi-Salafist. ISIS proclaimed a world-wide Caliphate in 2014 and named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its Caliph. Muslim, non-Muslim states and Islamic authorities however, rejected its claim to statehood or caliphate. The goal of this thesis is to understand the development of this new phenomenon by analyzing its history, rhetoric, ideology and practice. Prior to its creation, the tensions in Iraq during the Saddam Hussein regime and its relationship to the first and the second Iraq war in 1990-91 and 2003 as well as the creation of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan that led to the emergence of a new phenomenon, global jihadism. The main ideology that the Islamic State promotes is a form of Jihadi-Salafism that claims to unite Muslims against all non-Muslim governments in order to bring “true Islam” back into the world. To do this, jihadists justify the establishment of the Caliphate in an effort to provide legitimacy to their actions, appealing to young people who often times are seduce by their eschatology. Once individuals join, they are taught concepts pertaining to martyrdom to establish loyal to the organization and its cause. To win people over, the Islamic State employs modern methods of communication that includes social media such as Youtube and Twitter, as well as magazines such as Dabiq. These resources address the online community and specifically attract individuals who feel isolated from their communities, or individuals who wish to create an impact on the world. Overall, the Islamic State, although it employs Islamic symbols and scriptures in their claim of representing all Muslims, does not adhere to, nor respect the historical and intellectual discussions of Islam in favor of their own political agenda. Its adherents utilize concepts from certain Salafi and Wahhabi ideals, emphasizing jihad as defensive war against the West in an attempt to isolate parts of society so that they can retain control. They ignore the main concept of mercy within the Islamic faith. Muslims in the Arizona community agree that the Islamic State is not a representation of Islam in this world and should not be equivocated with the Islamic practices that more than 1.6 billion Muslims practice in their daily life.