Abdel Bari Atwan: "ISIS Savagery Comes from Islamic History"
Abdel Bari Atwan, former editor-in-chief of Al-Quds Al-Arabi and current editor-in-chief of Al-Rai Al-Youm, gave a talk at the American University in Beirut titled, "ISIS Savagery Comes from Islamic History" (Memri, Clip No. 5299), and in a sense, he interviews his divided self, posing a position (which I've bold fonted), then responding to that position (which I've italicized):
I am surprised by people who say: "This blood soaked ideology [of ISIS] is alien to us. From where did they bring it? Islam is not blood soaked."In short, Abdel Bari Atwan reminds viewers that Islam is blood-soaked. To deny this is to deny history.
How can you say that Islam is not blood soaked?! This is very peculiar. In the days of the Abbasid Caliphate, Abu Al-Abbas Al-Saffah spread a carpet over people's skulls and had dinner . . . . [This] happened in our religion. The same is true of the Umayyad Caliphate.
Still, people ask: "Where did this ideology come from?"
Didn't the Wahhabi movement go to Karbala, where they killed thousands and desecrated the tomb of Hussein? They shattered tombs and almost destroyed the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad, when they took over Najd and Hijaz. They desecrated the tombs of all the companions of the Prophet.
Yet people say: "This is not Islamic ideology. The IS is neither Islamic nor a state. So why do they use savagery?"
In 2003, Abu Bakr Naji published the book Management of Savagery . . . . The period in which we are living is the stage of security chaos. This is the state of savagery. It is . . . [the Islamic State's] way of taking over the rule in this period of security chaos. This is what "management of savagery" means. They have been practicing savagery for a very simple reason: To strike fear in their enemy. They must sow fear among the enemy. It's all orchestrated. All organized.
[People talk] about (ISIS) not being Islamic.
I am not a religious source of authority, brother, but when the Sheik of Al-Azhar, who heads the moderate religious institution, refuses to accuse (ISIS) of heresy and says that they are Muslims - what more do we need? Some people disagree - and they are free to do so - but Al-Azhar is a moderate source of authority. The Sheik of Al-Azhar refused to accuse them of heresy, and said they are Muslims, and you expect 'Sheik' Abdel-Bari Atwan to pronounce them heretics?! It's a little difficult for me [to fathom].