To understand the cultural forces propelling ISIS, analysts turn to the 18th century and the rise of Wahhabism. Unfortunately for Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who wanted to reform Islam without violence, his movement was taken up for political reasons by Muhammad Ibn Saud, who, like any self-respecting desert chieftain, sought to take over as much of the world as possible.
Ibn Saud succeeded with the help of Bedouins (the Ikhwan) who added Wahhab’s reformist zeal to Saud’s powerlust and their own long-standing tradition of attack, slaughter and enslave. Now the neighbors were not just targets for booty but unbelievers, and so Allah was fine with their throats being cut, their women confiscated and their children murdered.
Oh, those dastardly Wahhabis! That hypocritical Ibn Saud! Those barbarous Ikwhan! It was bad and then it got worse, because the House of Saud was established in partnership with the bloody Wahhabi clerics and the full support of the USofA. With characteristic modesty, they named the country after themselves-Saudi Arabia. Then it got still worse, because trillions of oil dollars flowed to the House of Saud, their thousands of “royal” offspring and those bloody Wahhabi clerics.
Extreme and violent Islam, now funded up the ying-yang by petrodollars, spread over a vast region, building mosques, opening schools, setting up clerical authorities and stomping out rival versions of Islam. Oh, curse the fate that brought this ugly, warlordy movement into power in the 18th century!
Except it didn’t start in the 18th century. Attacking, slaughtering and enslaving your neighbor goes back much, much further than that. Attacking, slaughtering and enslaving your neighbors was normal, standard operating procedure for many thousands of years. It goes back at least to the supposedly glorious days of King David and Solomon, who also wanted to take over as much of the world as possible.
The Old Testament presents an honestly sordid story of the “chosen people” in the bad old days. One warlord attacks another with monotonous regularity and either steals their land or leaves them on their land to hew wood, haul water and pay tribute.
Here are just a few excerpts:
Jabez said, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!” (1 Chronicles 4:10)
“They attacked the Hamites in their dwellings and also the Meunites who were there and completely destroyed them…Then they settled in their place…” (1 Chronicles 4:41)
“They seized the livestock of the Hagrites…camels, sheep and donkeys. They also took one hundred thousand people captive, 22 and many others fell slain.” (1 Chronicles 5:21)
“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah.” (2 Samuel 11:1)
What do you do in the spring? You go off to war. It is the tradition, the norm. It’s morality is never questioned and has not been so questioned until fairly recently. It continues to this day; the ‘chosen people’ are still stealing land and the desert warlords are still raiding their neighbors.
But some question: Didn’t Jesus say, “Treat others as you want to be treated?” I don’t want to be attacked, slaughtered and enslaved, therefore…
Please note: Religion is not the cause of these depredations. It is the tool.
Look elsewhere for the cause.