Cults and Consequences, Essay Example
“Not every organization which calls itself ‘religious,’ is religious.” -Handbook of Cults
Islam today is considered one of the five major world religions, yet the vast majority of people ignore the reality that Islamic doctrine and discourse at its core is fundamentally sinister in nature. While it would far-fetched to claim that all Muslims are evil, individuals who read and adhere to the principles outlined in the Quran are undoubtedly impacted by a sinister religion that germinated during the eighth century with the goal of achieving world hegemony. Since the inception of Islam during the eighth century A.D., and Mohammed emerged as its leader and prophet, it has never been a peaceful or tolerant epistemology. Rather, Islam and its founding tenets encouraged violence in the name of a higher power, Allah, which has resulted in widespread murdered. The epileptic and psychopathic leader of Islam, Muhammad, promulgated time and again that such violent acts were sanctioned, and so people could engage in sinister and nefarious activities because he claimed that Allah told him to do so. When his followers performed evil and nefarious acts, according to the holy book of Islam, the Quran, Allah would forgive them. Such religious truisms are highlight when one reads the works by several renowned religious scholars, including Andrew G. Bostom, Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Bat Ye’or, and the biography by F. W. Burleigh. These works contend in various different ways that nothing positive for humankind has ever germinated out of Islam in comparison to other world religions. Islam is not a religion because it does not meet the qualifications for being a religion. Rather, it exhibits all of the characteristics of a satanic cult that is nefarious in nature, which is evident not only in Islam’s roots and the verses in the holy Koran but also in the modern-day group known as ISIS, which invokes precepts from the Koran in order to justify senseless killing and other heinous, inhumane acts.
Islam And the Call to Violence
A Semitic religion, Islam was derived from the root word “Salaam,” which directly translates to “peace.” It also refers to an individual’s submission of their will to Allah. As such, peace emerges as the ultimate goal that Muslims strive to attain both personally, within their families, and in the community at-large. Muslims universally accept that the Quran contains the word of God as told to the prophet Muhammed, who was his final prophet. According to Islamic traditions, Allah had sent out prophets and messengers to spread the message about the unity of God, which is why it is of paramount importance for adherents to believe in all of the prophets sent by Allah, beginning with Adam and subsequently in Abraham, Noah, Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, David, Moses, Jesus, and John the Baptist. The term “jihad” is the most relevant concept to this paper topic, as it has formed the basis for the justification of many violent acts perpetrated in the name of Allah and the Muslim religion. Jihad is derived from the term “Jahada,” which translates to “strive” or “to struggle.” Within the context of Islam, the concept refers to an individual’s own struggle against his or her propensity for evil or nefarious acts. However, the term also connotes the need for Muslims to continuously improve society and to defend the Muslim faith. Within the context of modernity, jihad has been appropriated to ward off oppression, evil, and tyranny. Any individual who wages jihad in the name of Allah according to the regulations outlined in the Sunnah and the Quran in the way that the prophet Muhammed advocated is referred to as Mujahid. As such, it is unequivocal that the concept of jihad is multi-layered, complex, and can refer to a barrage of activities that are supposed to be geared towards self-improvement and the betterment of society.
The act of physical fighting in the Muslim religion manifests the physical form of the concept jihad. From the Islamic perspective, engaging in physical fighting on the battlefields serves as the last resort, and it is circumscribed by certain conditions. Physical fighting can only be conducted if the fighting is needed to defend freedom, including freedom of practice one’s faith in addition to thwarting perceived exploitation, oppression, and tyranny. The Quran outlines the parameters of guidelines for physical jihad. In theory, Muslims can only go to war if they follow a stringent set of rules and conditions, including not killing innocent civilians or women and children; no burning monasteries; no burning crops; and not killing animals, among many other stipulations. Although the concept of jihad is supposed to bolster an individual’s propensity towards peace, it has had the opposite effect on Muslims today who have turned to extremism and barbarism in order for Islam to attain world hegemony in the near future. Such acts limn Islam not as a religion bent on peace but as a cult that seeks to eliminate all individuals who do not believe in a certain brand of Islam.
At the present time, the West continues to have doubts and question Islam because they view it as an unusual and offbeat religion. The majority of these populations are ignorant about its etiology except for the fact that the prophet Mohammed delivered the Koran to the Muslim people as the word of God in the same way that the Old and New Testament functioned in Christianity. Critics of Islam often pose various questions, including what if Mohammed never historically existed or what if the Quran was created as a facilitator of the jihad, or conquests conducted in the name of religion (Spencer 3). Gallanter argues that “the psychology of zealous groups” has hitherto not emerged as a fruitful topic for inquiry, thereby necessitating such a project in order to arrive at a more nuanced understanding of Islam as a cult rather than an organized and viable religion. Since the inception of Islam during the 700s in the West, observers time and again rendered the new religion as culturally backwards, which explains why people never articulated or conveyed their trepidation of Islam as a vitriolic religion under the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001.
No religion in world history has there ever been a religion that ordered adherents to “slay unbelievers” and the heathen pagan since the world of the Old Testament. However, centuries later, it is evident that those who proclaim to be devout adherents to the Islamic religion continue to persecute, torture, and murder westerners as well as members of different Muslim sects for the sake of world domination. Such a medieval perspective is dangerous to the fabric of an orderly human civilization and threatens to tear communities asunder. Within the intelligentsia and other political circles, seldom do members bring up the issue of Islam not being an actual, organized, and coherent religion despite media representations and narratives that continue to circulate and underscore the cult-like activities Muslim fanatics. Many Islamic nations remain suspended in a persistent crisis to which no structural reform is possible (Lewis et al. 608). A general preoccupation with Islamophobia accounts for one reason why people fear proffering their opinions on the controversial subject without coming off as a religious bigot.
Hate-mongering has become a salient and quotidian feature of everyday life in the context of modernity that manifests in discourses evident by critics of particular social, religious, and political social groups. In one White House press conference given by Obama, the president posited that the terrorist group ISIS, or ISIL, was not representative of Islam because religions never condone first-degree murder of thousands of innocent people for ideological purposes. Many critics of Islam steadfastly disagreed with the statement articulated by President Obama. As the Digital Age continues at its apex, people continue to believe that all religions regardless of how old they are must be able to stand the test of time despite scrutiny, and they should be dismissed if there remains a lack of credibility (Wright 45). Unfortunately, mining through the Quran and invoking passages to support the argument that Islam is not a religion remains off limits, a point that must be addressed in the near future. Khaled el. Fadl, a law professor who teaches at UCLA, contended that ‘Revisionism, like all forms of established bigotry, rests on several assumptions. Assumption #1: Muslims invariably lie and cannot distinguish fact from fiction” (Spencer). Many Muslims, especially fanatic adherents, believe that any and all external criticism constitutes bigotry and must accordingly be readily dismissed. Fadl’s statement is a bit reductive because curiosity is necessary in order to avoid living in a time period like the Dark Ages in medieval Europe. However, many scholars believe that many Muslims around the world do not want to adapt and evolve according to modern exigencies. Rather than reconcile the religion of Islam with rationality and reason, “the fundamental precepts of Islam” render such a task almost impossible the achieve (Cheetham 147).
Mohammed And Satan: Islam as Satanic Cult?
There are various references in the Quran that attest to the argument that Mohammed associated with Satan, the devil, which further reifies the argument that Islam is the antithesis of what constitutes a religion. Indeed, Mohammed as the prophet of Islam self-declared that he spearheaded the first group of Muslim terrorists and he prayed to Allah, the “Lord of the Devils,” prior to each raid he participated in. In addition, Mohammed asserted that all Muslims were destined to go to hell once they died, and they could not escape that fate because even he as the prophet of Islam was destined for hell. Time and again, Muhammed promulgated that the Devil possessed him. When he was younger, Mohammed had instilled a level of concern in his family and those close to him regarding his mental state. His wet nurse feared that his soul was possessed by the devil, and when Mohammed’s mother asked her if she believed that the boy was possessed by the Devil, the wet nurse replied that she did fear it. In addition, Mohammed sometimes donned a talisman in order to stave off the evil eye, which associates Mohammed with sinister intimations. While the Jewish and God sent His Son, Jesus, to sacrifice and die for humans’ sins and save humans from purgatory, Allah wants humans to die and become martyrs because Muhammad says so, thereby encouraging Muslims to go to war in order to gain a place in paradise. Such sinister intimations manifest themselves throughout the Quran and in the hadith.
Allah Is Not God and Mohammed Is Not a Prophet
Individuals who have expressed antagonism towards Islam as a religion pinpoint the Quran as the root of the problem. Indeed, many religious scholars view the Quran as not by nature mythical. Rather, they argue that the sayings and precepts that Mohammed penned were themselves myths, which is why many critics say that there is no proof that Mohammed was the prophet of Allah. Indeed, there are no prophecies included in the Quran but only threats veiled as prophecies. As such, the Word of God never opines about the coming of a prophet as Mohammed argues but rather merely admonished the reader that a false prophet would arrive and lead them astray. Nowhere in the Bible specifically forecasts the coming of Muhammad as the last prophet, which Muslim fundamentalists time and again postulate. Moses never predicted Muhammad’s coming, nor was he the Counselor that Jesus foresaw coming in the future. Additionally, Muhammad’s messages as evident through the hadith and the Quran contradicts Jesus’ message and many of the ideas, concepts, and precepts present in the Torah and Gospel. As such, the only biblical prophecy that could sensibly refer to the coming of Muhammad appears in the Gospel of Matthew 24:11 in which it was predicted that a litany of false prophets would appear and deceive many people. Mohammed proclaimed himself to be the prophet and sole agent and conduit of the divine living on Earth, which fits the definition of what a cult leader claims to be (Andres and Lane 1). Indeed, he portrayed himself to be an infallible leader who possessed absolute sagacity and truth. In addition, an argument can be made that Allah cannot be called an omniscient and omnipresent God because Muslim scripture reveals that Allah is in fact evil. The various historical errors contained inside the Quran suggest that Allah was not a compassionate, omnipresent, and omniscient being that Yahweh is in the Torah and Gospel, particularly because Beings that are all-knowing should easily recall historical events that transpired.
In the Muslim religion, Mohammed has been viewed as the last of the great line of prophets, which is why Muslims celebrate the date of his ascension to heaven every year. While the Muslim community perceives Mohammed as a perfect human being and intermediary between Allah and themselves, the West maintains deep-seated antagonism towards and prejudice against the purported prophet (Hussain 74). Historians of religion question the Muslim tradition of attributing the Holy Texts of Islam to Mohammed, an illiterate, nomad warrior who resided in a pagan city, which is problematic if he emerged as the last prophet of Allah (“In the Shadow of the Sword” 54-56). Mythology enables ordinary people to forge a connection or association with a time period that transcends the present and ordinary time. Various ancient narratives proffer a platform on which human forms are infused with cosmic forces and thus perform various acts associated with the divine (Young). It is thus plausible that Mohammed, who was a nomadic warrior, was subsequently elevated to prophethood by Caliphs. Such a fabrication is plausible because Mohammed and other bedouin tribes were embroiled in various conflicts and jihads, and by proclaiming Mohammed to be a prophet of God, the others would listen to him and follow his lead. Interestingly, non-Muslims had little knowledge about the historical Mohammed, which is why many medieval scholars turn to second-hand sources that were penned over a century after the so-called prophet was alive, many of which were fabricated (Lewis et al. 31). Thus, western scholars struggle to fully understand the role of the historical Muhammad.
Critics of Islam proclaim that Islam contradicts the pure Word of God, and they postulate that Allah is not God but rather the spawn of evil, which is evident in the Quran. Indeed, there are unequivocal fundamental dissonances between the Holy Bible and the Quran regarding practices and core beliefs. The Quran and the Bible do not draw inspiration from the same source, and the both have been profoundly edited. Both Christians and Muslims fully believe in the reliability, divine etiology, and trustworthiness of their respective central texts. There is no way to test the authenticity of either text, so the millions of adherents for both religions could be placing their faith and hopes in texts that germinated out of deception and lies. Both Christians and Muslims have tried to prove the authenticity of their respective texts, but objectivity is impossible to have because of how ardent representatives of both faiths are. The Quran frequently reiterates that both the Old Testament and the New Testament proffer the same revelations that Allah, the God of the Quran, does. While the Koran makes various claims that the Gospel and the Torah are revealed, it also postulates that Jesus as a prophet was never crucified: “They (the Jews) said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of Allah’, – but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them … ” (Sura 4:157). This example is merely one example of how Islam, as evident through the Quran contradicts the word of God as evident in the Torah and the Gospels, which were written centuries prior to the Quran. Such a distortion of God, it can be argued, reveals how Islam turns to the dissemination of sophistry, deception, and lies, which underscores how sinister sentiments remain at its core.
Furthermore, critics of Islam argue that God as an omniscient and omnipresent, all-power entity serves as the antithesis to Allah, who manifests all evil in the world. The Quran claims that Allah, the God of Islam, is one and the same as the God of the Hebrew patriarch Abraham and thus the God that is mentioned in Scripture. Christian theologians, however, decry such a notion, asserting that Allah is evil in nature and not a compassionate and loving God, Yahweh, who permeates the Bible for the Jews and Christians. To evaluate this debate, it is necessary to assess all of the attributes of Allah in order to better compare Yahweh and Allah. It is necessary to take into consideration Allah’s qualities as described in the Quran and to compare those traits with the attributes of Yahweh as articulated in the Old and New Testaments. Muslims must defend the argument made in the Quran that Allah and Yahweh are one and the same just referred to with different names. The Christian Bible teachers its readers that God is never enticed by evil and thus does not tempt others to engage in evil acts. The Old Testament proffers an understanding of evil as commensurate with sinning and immorality (Psalm 5:4-5). However, the Quran frames Allah as the progenitor of evil: “And (the unbelievers) schemed and planned, and Allah schemed also, and the best of schemers is Allah” (S. 3:54). As such, Allah worked as an agent of evil and was time and again referred to as a “schemer,” a term in Arabic that denotes deception, or one who feigns frequently and is conniving. This term retains a pejorative connotation, and so Allah was perceived as the optimal deceiver in comparison to all others. Interestingly, both Christian scholars and Muslim theologians endorse this interpretation of Allah. Muslim theologian Dr. Mahmoud M. Ayoub wrote in his work, The Quran and its Interpreters, Vol. II, the House of Imran, the author poses the question of how the Arabic term for “scheming,” which connotes dishonesty and deception, could be used to describe Allah, the Muslim God (Ayoub 165). Various Muslims sources suggest that the act of scheming and plotting is carried out with the goal of causing evil. As such, Ayoub eschews the use of the word scheming in the Quran, claiming that its multivalent nature foments uncertainty about the nature of Allah. In addition, Allah demanded all of the Muslim adherents to fully submit themselves to Him, while Yahweh never demanded that Christian and Jewish believers must worship Him as His slaves.
Moreover, early sources describing the life of the prophet Muhammad has been interpreted as such in the Quran 8:30: “Then he reminds the apostle of His favor towards him when the people plotted against him ‘to kill him, or to wound him, or to drive him out; and they plotted, and God plotted, and is the best of plotters” (Quran, as cited by Guillaume, 323). Various times through the Quran it is evident that Allah devises evil various times in Quran. Allah used deception in order to achieve a certain aim, she as when Muslims evinced uncertainty about fighting for the cause trumpeted by Allah. In verse 17:16, the Quran states: “And when We desire to destroy a city, We command its men who live at ease, and they commit ungodliness therein, then the Word is realized against it…We destroy it” (S. 17:16). Allah then adjured the men to purposely sin so that they destroyed their enemies completely. The Quran states that everything that befalls Muslims does so at the behest of the deceptive and conniving Allah, who ordains all acts (S. 9:51). As the Quran states, “Allah leads astray whomsoever…He will and guides whomsoever he will” (S. 14:4). Those who listen to Allah’s instructions and conform to all of His wishes, although he leads both good and evil. Those who Allah causes to stray from the right path will experience a fate in hell. Beyond leading some men astray, Allah also creates people for the purpose of sending them to hell. Such nefarious intentions underscore how Allah and Yahweh are quite dissimilar, thereby proving that Allah can arguably be rendered the antithesis of all that is good and pure.
Muslims, especially in the context of modernity, resort to violence and justify such actions and condone violence by citing passages in the Quran and hadith, which Muslims believe are the words of Allah. In addition, Muslim extremists will not only make claims that Allah condones violence, but also that He and the prophet Mohammed demand violence to be exacted. Allah commands Muslims throughout the Quran to exact terror on His behalf against any and all non-believers, i.e. non-Muslims and westerners. In Surah 8:60, the Quran reads: “Strike terror [into the hearts of] the enemies of Allah and your enemies” (Surah 8:60). Moreover, another passages states hat Muslims have an obligation to physically fight and kill all non-Muslims and non-believers, and Allah will torment and punish them via the hands of Muslim crusaders and inflict much humiliation and shame on them (Surah 9:14). In Surah 8:13-17, the Quran further reads: “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, smite them above their necks and smile all of their fingers off them. It is not ye [crusaders] who slew them; it was Allah” (Surah 8:13-17). Similar to the Quran, there are several passages in the Hadith in which the prophet Mohammed urges Muslims to wage jihad on all non-believers. Once, Mohammed was asked what was the best deed a Muslim believer could do if they believed in both Allah and his Apostle. Mohammed replied that believers should “participate in Jihad in Allah’s cause” (Al Bukhari 1:25). Mohammed further asserts in the hadith that he had been commanded to “fight with the people until they say” that no god retained the right to be worshiped other than the venerable Allah (Al Bukhari 4:196). Those who participated in Holy war in the Allah’s name, compelled by the steadfast belief in Allah and in the last prophet, would be rewarded by Allah if he survived with some kind of booty, reward, or will be promised entrance into Paradise if he dies honorably in battle (1:35). As such, God and Mohammed were unequivocally supporters of violence, sanctioned it against all others who did not prescribe to Muslim tenets despite the fact that Islam was ironically created with the goal of promoting and preserving peace. Moreover, the political use of the concept “jihad” starkly contrasted from its Quranic meaning.
Western Views of Islam: Historical Perspectives
The argument that Islam is intrinsically evil is not a new standpoint, and various historical personages have offered their opinions on Islam and its religious or cultish currency. According to John Wesley, a Methodist leader who was active during the eighteenth century, argued that since the inception of Islam as a religion, its proponents “have been as wolves and tigers to all other nations, rending and tearing all that fell into their merciless paws, grinding them with their iron teeth.” Various cities that been constructed upon this foundation, and many nations that were formerly perceived to be “the garden of God” have transformed into a “desolate wilderness” which has resulted in the devolution of various formerly powerful countries that have vanished from the earth. As such, through rage, revenge, and fury, Muslims have emerged as the “destroyers of humankind” (Wesley). Former sixth president of the United States also shared his view of Islam and its place in the world in which he occupied. Adams stated: “Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he [Mohammad] humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion” (“Former U.S. President”). Adams further stated that the Muslim prophet Mohammed poisoned all sources of human happiness vis-a-vis the denigration of women and welcoming polygamy practices. In addition, an “exterminating war” against all the non-believers was an integral part of Mohammed’s religion because the fundamental essence of Muslim doctrine was both lust and violence. Adams concluded that, “while the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and goodwill towards men” (“Former US President.”). The repetition of the notion of jihad in relation to violence further underscores the perception of public figures in the west that Islam was a religion constructed on the pillars of violence, greed, and lust.
The Political Dimensions of Islam as A Cult
Although viewed as a religion that governs every aspect of believers’ bodies, it is unequivocal that Islam retains political currency, and it is motivated by politics to a large degree. This trend can be explained by examining Mohammed in the suras in which the so-called prophet underwent a political phase, which he hoped would influence Muslims living in the present. Muslims, however, grappled with the notion that they were expected to submit themselves to a political religion in the same manner in which Americans submit themselves to either the Democratic political party or the Republican party. Such issues fomented questions regarding whether or not Allah, the omnipresent, omnicient God in the Muslim religion, was a Sunni or a Shi’ite Muslim, or if he was perhaps a member of the more extremist ideologies such as Wahabbism. Such questions have yet to be answered, yet Muslims await for such answers to be given to them in the upcoming days. In the meantime, various groups and individual Muslims continue to carry out heinous acts resulting in mass murder and butchery while the Wests stands by idly watching in horror. The president of Pakistan Mushraff lamented that “so far, the fanatics are interpreting Islam” (Wright 175). Insulation and protection against Muslims who are preoccupied with achieving their utopian vision in which Muslims were hegemonic on an international level has proven difficult, and Muslims continue to exploit the fear, intimidation, and terror in various ways that portray Muslims as insane.
By the year 2011, the United States National Security Association (NSA) reportedly spent over $66 billion dollars on protecting its peripheral borders, a move deemed necessary in the aftermath of the 2001 9/11 attacks. The Department of Defense’s military budget skyrocketed in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, totaling approximately $500 billion dollars annually. Such statistics indicate that the United States has spent over $7,000,000,000,000 on overseas wars for the purpose of keeping Americans safe from Islamic terrorism. All of the overseas conflicts that have taken place since the 9/11 attacks on American soil have been against radical Muslims who seek to tear the west of summer since the western way of life is perceived to be antithetical to Muslim customs and lifestyles. It is quite unfortunate that Muslim adherents have normalized extremism to make extremism look highly mainstream. The majority of those living in the West have never read the Quran or the Islamic hadiths, so they are quite ignorant of what teachings are important within the Muslim religion (Gabriel 105). In 1998, Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, found described America as a “dog with no bite” and a “paper tiger.” He viewed Islam from a literal perspective, perceiving it to be a seventh century, literal war against all of those who were not believers in the Wahabbist brand of Islam. Various responses to the 9/11 terrorist attacks articulated by Muslims living in the United States varied, as many censured the heinous acts while others uneasily expressed their approval (Wright 155). These findings suggests that Muslims could exhibit the tendencies and mindset of a lunatic like Osama bin Laden, yet such actions are sanctioned within the context of the umma. Seemingly insane individuals like Osama bin Laden are thus viewed in Islam as devout adherents whose extremism is never condemned. Muslims living in Islamic nations decry any efforts by the United States and other western countries to involve themselves in conflicts abroad such as the unrest in Syria. Islamic leaders view the United States and her western allies as Christian crusaders who are trying to convert Muslims to Christianity in order to quell the threat of Islam to world hegemony.
The Cult of Islam and Current Events: Isis
As mentioned previously, the West remains dubious about how devout Muslims view the world and why they engaged in such heinous crimes under the veil of religious fervor. Indeed, the news is saturated with stories about deadly rampages perpetrated in the name of Allah, which has spawned a discursive framing of Islam in a highly pejorative light. The rise of ISIS has further exacerbate the negative perceptions of Islam as a highly dangerous cult rather than as a religion aimed at saving the souls of its follower (Chulov). A few years ago in Texas, a Muslim psychiatrist went on a deadly rampage in which one physician was killed and thirty three other soldiers were badly injured. All doctors when completing their education and beginning their careers swear to the Hippocratic Oath in which they promise to save as many lives as possible and do everything they can possible to save and enhance the lives of their patients. However, this Muslim psychiatrist exhibited his own personal belief that saving lives was merely secondary to his own Muslim faith. As such, the calling to carry out the mandates of his Muslim faith superseded his professional obligation to save lives. This “calling” was believed to be Allah’s command, thereby denoting the nefarious nature of Allah within the Muslim faith. Muslims will always eschew western ideas that give primacy to secularism over religion within the context of modernity (Wright 187). Indeed, according to modern-day Islamic epistemologies, any person who overtly resists the divine will of Allah—i.e. westerners—is perceived as a threatening aggressor that undermines the Muslim religion.
Currently in Islamic countries like Tunisia and Syria, there are reports of religiously motivated attacks on a quotidian basis. In Tunisia, seventeen Japanese and European tourists were recently gunned down by a militant, and two nationals were murdered while twenty two others were injured in a museum there by Islamic machine gun. In Syria, a leftist-fascist country currently wracked by a civil war at the behest of its corrupt government, is being inundated by the influx of foreign fighters. Even in the country of Jordan, which is often touted as the most westernized, Muslim country in the Middle East, is more “Muslimized” than westernized as many Syrians remain sympathetic towards nefarious terrorist networks including al-Qaeda and ISIS. In Egypt, there have been recent reports on the beheading of twenty one Christian Copts at the hands of Salafists for the crime of being Christian polytheists. More recently, the massacre waged against the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdoe was perpetrated by Muslim extremists who conveyed their ire towards the magazine for offending Mohammed the prophet and circulating offensive images of the prophet under the guise of freedom of speech. Finally, the African country Nigeria, the Islamic terrorist group known as Boko Haram kills innocent civilians with impunity, stoning to death and slaughtering innocent villagers, even babies and young children. While many of the terrorist attacks that take place today target westerners, there have been an exponential increase in attacks waged against other Muslim sects. This phenomenon can only be explained by understanding the divisive and volatile nature of sectarianism within the Muslim religion.
Two decades ago, the sectarian divide amongst the Islamic countries in the Middle East did not have an immense impact amongst the Islamic countries in the region. However, there has emerged a stringently literal interpretation of the Quran, which has a trenchant impact on a vast array of countries including Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia, Jordan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, and Chechnya, among many others. It is clear that the clock has stopped in the Arab world, and that Muslims remain stuck in the seventh century rather than adapting to modern exigencies. Muslims cling to the Koran because they have essentially lost everything else, which is why its interpretation has provided an impetus for such heinous violence (Sultan 177). These various scenarios are hard to make sense of through a religious framework. Rather, one must view them through the prism of a religious cult, or a pseudo-religion, in order to best make sense out of it.
Over the past year, the radical Islamic group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) catalyzed a media frenzy as a branch on the terrorist organization known as al-Qaeda. ISIL, a militant Islamic terrorist group that embraces a very specific brand of Islam, can only be described as a formidable and threatening death cult that has articulated its goal of eradicating all other religions, exterminating all westerners, and establishing world hegemony under their brand of Muslim fundamentalism. ISIL conducts its activities under the banner of jihad, which has resulted in the implementation of extreme measures over their purported caliphate, which has resulted in heinous crimes being committed against humanity. They have publicly executed and beheaded various individuals; induced ethnic cleansing through policy; systematically engaged in violence against women; and recruited soldiers from all over the world, including the United States. While this movement is hard to comprehend, it is not asocial in nature, and has evolved into a burgeoning international state that threatens the order and well-being of all people across the globe. ISIL is demanding of its proponents, which reveals its cultish nature that continues to threaten the world order in a similar manner to how Islam functioned when it germinated during the seventh century.
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