The particular role of religion in Islamic State

Religion, specifically Islam, is central to the identity of Islamic State (IS). It was on the basis of religious doctrine that IS separated from Al Qaeda. It is on the basis of his belonging to the same tribe as the Prophet Muhammed that Al-Baghdadi has legitimised his claims of leadership of the Muslim ummah. Moreover each action undertaken by IS is justified on the basis of Islamic religious texts. Far from representing some sort of lunatic fringe, the ideology of IS finds resonance among mainstream Muslims. Despite international efforts at countering violent extremism, the pessimistic prediction of this paper is that such efforts will fail and the world is set for a confrontation between liberal democracies and Islamists globally.

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