(Written for Arutz Sheva and The Jewish Word translated from the Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky)
For the past several months, the entire world has been busy writing and talking about the "Islamic State" or the "caliphate nation", as if this phenomenon poses a totally new threat whose cruelty and rapid advance has never been seen before.
Without doubt, the cruel behavior of the organization's adherents, expressed for the most part by beheadings, massacres, the starving of non-Muslims to death and the sale of their wives on the open market gives rise to revulsion, fear and feelings of horror in the Middle East and beyond. The rapidity with which the IS fighters have wrested control of large areas has caused widespread panic as well.
The West is amazed by this phenomenon, mainly because it avers that there has never been anything like it in the annals of mankind.
The "Islamic State" is the unfortunate result of the "Arab Spring" that broke out in late 2010 and that was described in glowing terms by so many media analysts and experts as the start of a democratic chapter in Arab history, one eagerly awaited by the entire world. What the world got instead is a horrendous disappointment - murder, terror, the trampling of human rights and a real threat to minorities such as Christians, Yazidis and Shiites
The international community is surprised, frightened and shocked, but actually, there is no reason for surprise. Anyone who has studied the story of Islam with any degree of seriousness and read the original Arabic Islamic sources realizes that what is going in Syria and Iraq is nothing but another link in a long chain of massacres and butchery that have always accompanied Islam, starting with the period of Mohammed.
In the year 626 C.E., under Mohammed's command, the Muslims butchered the Jews of Medina, the Banu Quraydha, most horribly. In 627 the Jews of Khaybar village suffered the same fate. In 629 the Banu Nadir Jews were slaughtered. The elimination of the tribe called Banu Qaynuga completed the first ethnic cleansing of the Arabian peninsula, except for Yemen, where Jews have managed to survivor up to the present day.
After Mohammad's death, the two caliphs, Abu Bakr and Omar fought a bloody war against the tribes that had abandoned Islam after Mohammed's demise, forcing them to return to the faith and slaughtering many of them. The spread of Islam to the countries of the Middle East was marked by terrible massacres, with hundreds of thousands of people butchered for not converting to the "religion of peace".
A short and abridged list of massacres that riddle the history of Islam would include: 712, in Samarkand (now Uzbekistan) and Sind (now Pakistan); 739 and 750, in Egypt; 806, in the city of Byzantine; 838, 934, 935 in Greece; 862, in Spain; 878, in Syracuse (Sicily); 903, in Salonika; 940, 1049, in Armenia; 1011,1013,1019, 1026, in India; 1066, in Granada (Spain); 1159, in Tunisia; 1193, in India; 1268, in Syria; 1275,1276, in Egypt; 1381, in Asfahan (Iran); in many Persian cities up to the year 1400; 1453, in Constantinople.
And this is but a partial list.
As we get closer to the modern period, we have the massacre of the Sikhs in 1826; in Sudan, in 1852; the blood libel and pogrom in Damascus, 1840; a massacre of Christians in Damascus, 1860; in Bulgaria 1875-76; the massacre of the Jews of Fez, Morocco in 1912; the Christian Armenian genocide in Turkey 1915; the massacre of the Jews of Hevron, 1929; the pogrom in Bagdad (the Farhud) of 1941; the murder of the defenders of Gush Etzion taken prisoner by the Arab Legion, 1948; the massacre of the Palestinians in Jordan (Black September), 1970; the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988 with a million victims; the civil war I Algeria 1992-1998; the massacre of 2 million Christians and Animists in southern Sudan during the second half of the 20th century; massacres in Darfur throughout the first decade of the 21st century.
On September 11, 2001, a massacre occurred in New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania; in 2004, there was a murderous attack in the Madrid metro; in London on July 7, 2005; US soldiers were massacred at the Fort Hood army base in 2009; Syrians are being butchered since March 2011; the same is happening in Libya since the start of 2011 along with many other acts of slaughter and mass murder that have filled Islamic history from its first appearance in the world up to today.
That is why there is no reason, from an historic viewpoint, to be surprised by the massacres that the Islamic State is carrying out against the unfortunates living in the areas it has overrun.
Massacres are intended to paralyze the enemy, plant fear in the hearts of its soldiers and make them flee for their lives. That is what happened to the Iraqi forces that were supposed to have guarded Mosul. Photographing and distributing pictures of severed heads from all the places where the Islamic state has already beheaded its opponents is meant to create panic that will cause enemy soldiers to flee before the arrival of the Islamic state's forces. The Koran (chap. 8 v.60) commands believers "and prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows."
The Muslim Brotherhood Organizations
The Turkish ruler Attaturk (Mustafa Khamal) abolished the Caliphate in 1924 in order to bring Turkey closer to European-style modernity. The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) was founded in 1928 as a reaction to this ambition and set as its goals the driving out of foreign powers, including the British, French and other European countries, along with the foreign culture they brought that had infiltrated and "defiled" Muslim society. The MB's ultimate goal was the imposition of Sharia law wherever possible.
The MB's credo is "Allah is our goal, the Quran our constitution, our path is that of jihad and our highest aspiration is to die for Allah". The MB's coat-of-arms includes the organization's name and one additional phrase "and be ready" that is found at the beginning of the Quranic verse quoted above. It also displays two swords that symbolize the organization's militant mission. It is odd, to say the least, that even now, there are those in the West who consider the MB a social welfare organization, ignoring the logo and slogans that attest to its violent and jihadist character.
It follows that the MB's goal is the unity of all Islamic nations under the wings of Islamic Sharia and the return of the Caliphate. The MB has spawned many organizations: in Egypt – the Jihad, Al-Takfir wa al-Hijra; Al-Nagoun min al-Nar; among the Palestinians – Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Islamic Army and People's Army; in Tunisia – al-Nahda; in many countries – Al Qaeda; in Nigeria – Boko Haram; in the Philippines – Abu Sayyaf; in Indonesia – al Jamaa al Islamiya; in Syria - Jabhat al Nusra; in Israel – the Islamic Movement; in Europe and America – hundreds of organizations and commercial companies that branched out from the MB; in Iraq- the "Islamic State", originally ISIS, that has spread to Syria and recently erased the words Iraq and Syria from its name (to become IS) in order to present itself as the ruler of all Islamic nations as a prelude to ruling the world. IS has already appointed a Caliph, Abu Bakr al Bagdadi, as ruler of the Islamic Nation.
The words inscribed in ancient Arabic script (similar to the script used by Islam in the 7th century) on the Islamic State's black flag, are known in Islam as the Shahada, and translate to "There is no god but Allah, Mohammed is the messenger of Allah." The words "Mohammed is the messenger of Allah" are written in a circle to resemble the ring that tradition states was on Mohammed's finger. The words are arranged from bottom to top so that the name Mohammed is under the word Allah.
Other Islamic Terror States
The "Islamic State" that arose on the ruins of Syria and Iraq is not the first terrorist Islamic state in the modern era. The "Islamic Republic of Iran" that succeeded the Shah after the Khomeini uprising of 1978-79 was, to all intents and purposes, a terror state. In its first years, the republic's kangaroo courts sentenced to death tens of thousands of Iranians who were identified with the deposed Shah's regime. Iran funds, trains and arms many terror organizations, with Hezbollah and Hamas heading the list.
The Taliban State that took control of Afghanistan in 1996 as a result of the jihadists' success in driving out the USSR forces was also a terrorist regime. The Taliban murdered anyone who did not toe the line and obey its radical commands and hosted the al Qaeda terror organization, allowing it to grow, flourish and sow death in every corner of the world.
Meanwhile other terror "states" appeared: Gaza, from the time the Hamas terror organization gained control, became a source of terror aimed at Israel, using rockets and tunnels.
Egypt, too, suffered from Hamas terror; Hamas terrorists were among the founders of another "terror state" that is located in the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt has proof that Hamas terrorists took part in terrorist attacks in Egypt proper, west of the Suez Canal. The Sinai terror state is responsible for the deaths of many members of Egyptian security forces.
In disintegrating Libya, there are several terrorist enclaves, one of which murdered US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, in September 2012, along with some of his guards. Islamic terror groups are present in several African countries, such as Somalia, Mali and Nigeria, sowing death in their wake.
That is why the Islamic State that arose over the last few months on the ruins of Syria and Iraq should not surprise anyone, as the last few decades have witnessed the formation of quite a few of them and their modus operandi have characterized Islamic history for close to 1400 years.
The world will probably do nothing against the newest terror state, just as it has done precious little to deal effectively and successfully with the previous ones. The fall of the Taliban did not solve any of the basic problems of Afhganistan, neither did the French intervention in Mali have lasting effect, nor did the Ethiopian attempts in Somalia.
To summarize, let us say that the world will have to accustom itself to the existence of an increasing number of radical Islamic states who aim to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction. Today it is Iran, tomorrow it may be any of the other terror states. The world must develop a coping strategy for dealing with these states, and it must alter the laws of war to fit the terrorist reality that is on the ascendance in many parts of the world. That includes Gaza. It is impossible to deal effectively with entities of this type while soldiers' hands are constrained by legal handcuffs created in the aftermath of World Wars I and II.
For the sake of fairness, let us mention that Nazi Germany and Stalin's USSR were terror states as well, while mass murders were part and parcel of European and American history for centuries. North Korea is a terror state to all intents and purposes, certainly internally. The Khmer Rouge of Cambodia and Mao Tse Tung's regime were soaked in the blood of their citizens.
The world suffered, bled and went on to a new era, one in which terror states act with total freedom while the world stands paralyzed and immobile.
Free people of the world – awake!!