Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Does the Islamic State believe its own ideology?

The Syrian town of Dabiq is where some Muslims believe a great battle that heralds the end of the world is supposed to take place. The Islamic State embraced that idea, especially after it seized control of Dabiq in August 2014. It naming its magazine "Dabiq" and referred to the coming battle over the town with apocalyptic excitement.

It lost control of the town this week. As rebel armies closed in, ISIS shifted its narrative:
More recently, as Dabiq was surrounded on three sides by the Turkish-backed rebel force, Islamic State followers “began to frantically explain why the approaching showdown in Dabiq would not be THE showdown,” Will McCants, the author of “The ISIS Apocalypse,” wrote on the blog Jihadica.

Islamic State media outlets pointed out that other conditions for the prophesied battle had not materialized, like the appearance of a “crusader army,” or the Mahdi, a messiah-like figure, or an 80-nation coalition of fighters.
Why did they change their story before the battle over the town? Sure, the town was surrounded and the ISIS fighters knew they were outgunned. But if they were really true believers, wouldn't they have insisted that they would still pull off a surprise victory as prophesied in the Hadith? If they really are religious fundamentalists, why don't they buy their own bullshit?