It has been just hours since the Washington Post reported yet another ISIS terror attack in Baghdad, which killed more than 120 people. I have scrolled through my Twitter feed and seen quite literally nobody addressing it, on the Left or the Right. Perhaps it is too soon – people just don’t know about it yet. Perhaps attacks like these no longer make an impression on us.
Or, perhaps nobody wants to address the fact that ISIS is attacking other Muslims again, because they don’t know how anymore.
People can’t seem to fathom why ISIS, a group claiming Islam as its motivation for slaughtering human beings, would attack other majority Muslim countries like Turkey, Bangladesh, or Iraq. Thus, they try to explain it away by rhetorically asking, “Why would real Muslims [whatever that means] attack other Muslims?”
Here’s one: “ISIS attacks a Muslim country, and people still want to blame Islam for terrorism. I don’t understand that at all. ISIS is not Islam,” declares one Twitterer.
The “it’s all about power, not religion” narrative is failing, both to explain these attacks and to prevent them.
If you’ve taken World Religions 101, if you know anything about Islam, you know it’s divided into two major factions. And those two factions despise one another.
Today’s attack might make sense, now that you know that. ISIS wants to establish a Sunni caliphate. Today, they specifically targeted Shiites. Why? Because ISIS seeks to destroy its theological opponents. They don’t submit to ISIS’ theological stance and therefore to its caliphate.
What about Turkey? Bangladesh? Both of those countries have a majority of Sunni Muslims. If ISIS is Sunni too, why would it attack its own’? Because those Sunnis don’t submit to the caliphate, which ISIS believes is its religious duty to establish.
Sure, I’ll concede ISIS wants power. But what drives its hunger for power, what drives it to kill other Muslims who bear its theological title, is its religious initiative.
That isn’t Islamaphobic, nor bigoted. That doesn’t demonize all Muslims. If it does anything, it aids peaceful Sunnis, who can rightfully and clearly distinguish themselves from the bloodthirsty ones.