The Atlantic Ignores Muslim Intellectuals, Defines “True Islam” As ISIS

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By Murtaza Hussain
The Intercept
February 20, 2015

Despite what its many critics (including President Obama) will tell you, the Islamic State is indeed Islamic, and actually very Islamic, according to ISIS itself — and also according to The Atlantic, which endorsed the group’s narrative in a widely circulated essay published this week entitled “What ISIS Really Wants.”

In the piece, author Graeme Wood makes the case that the militant group — whose actions have sparked protests and widespread revulsion around the world — represents a highly authentic version of Islam. Far from being an aberrant or deviant offshoot of traditional Islamic beliefs, it is described as being a faithful expression of them — representing “a coherent and even learned expression of Islam.” While the author notes that the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not share the views of Islamic State, and indeed see the group as un-Islamic, he denies that their version of the religion is more genuine.

“In the past, Westerners who accused Muslims of blindly following ancient scriptures came to deserved grief from academics,” Wood writes, citing the example of Edward Said and others who called for academics to focus on the social conditions in which religious extremism takes root. “But focusing on [social conditions] to the exclusion of ideology reflects another kind of Western bias: that if religious ideology doesn’t matter much in Washington or Berlin, surely it must be equally irrelevant in Raqqa or Mosul.”

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