Onward, to Defeat!

By: William Palumbo

Will America’s war against ISIS be the first we enter with the intention of losing?

On Tuesday, Breitbart.com carried an extremely salacious piece of news that, judging by the relatively small number of comments, went right over the heads of most readers. Reported Breitbart:

“The Obama administration is revamping its efforts to combat Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) propaganda. ISIS and its supporters produce “as many as 90,000 tweets and other social media responses every day,” reports The New York Times.

An empowered Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, currently a small component of the U.S. State Department, will spearhead the new campaign to fight the ISIS propaganda machine.

Rashad Hussain, a Muslim American with close ties to the White House, will replace Alberto Fernandez, the center’s director, according to The Times.”

The article goes on to cite several curious parts of Mr. Hussain’s biography that place him in close proximity to the Muslim Brotherhood. For the uninitiated, the Brotherhood is an international totalitarian organization which seeks to establish a global Islamic state (i.e., Caliphate) … just like ISIS, whom Hussain is supposed to be battling (in cyberspace, that is).

We’ll soon add some more color to Mr. Hussain’s connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliate groups in the United States, but first a few comments regarding the absurdity of social media “warfare” with savage headchoppers.

How Not to “Fight” a Fake War

It has been a surprise to many in America how well-produced, sophisticated, and professional ISIS’s media campaigns have been. Certainly, the influx of western jihadis have given them sufficient talent and technological know-how to put together their slick slaughter videos and catchy Twitter memes. Lest you forget about their savagery for even a day, the news media and Twitter will shove it right back into your face.

Which, considering our government’s capabilities, raises more than a few questions about the actual strategy to defeat ISIS. The U.S. government and social media platforms are masters at censorship. Post something highly offensive on Facebook or on Twitter and these companies will, more likely than not, remove it. There is photo recognition software that surely can be programmed to detect severed heads and black Shahada flags, and immediately flag them (no pun intended) for review. And there are a thousand ways that government internet monitoring can track activity online and cripple the user. Just ask Edward Snowden. Just ask Sharyl Attkisson.

Finally, remember that Facebook Turkey recently conceded to censor Turkish citizens who criticized Islam (and, more than likely, their fascist leaders, Recep Erdogan).

In conclusion, if Obama and the geniuses who are allegedly fighting ISIS were serious about winning the cyberwar, they’d just implement the tools we all know they have at their (literal) fingertips and shut them down. But they don’t.

Of course, if the same people were serious about winning the actual war (read: killing ISIS, not retweeting them to death), they’d also be doing just that. Instead, they’ve been ordering air strikes that have been described as “pin-pricks” since August, and while they dither ISIS has gained control of massive amounts of additional territory in Syria.

Deliberately Surrendering to the Headchoppers and Child Killers

All of this begs the question, what is the Obama administration doing with ISIS? It should be remembered that this same administration armed and trained Syrian rebels in Qatar. Only then did the world get “ISIS.”

This brings us back to Obama’s new propaganda chief against ISIS, Rashad Hussain. As noted by Breitbart, in December 2013 the Egyptian political magazine Rose El-Yousef profiled Hussain as one of six Muslim Brotherhood infiltrators in the Obama administration. At the time, the Investigative Project on Terrorism wrote of Hussain that he “maintained close ties with people and groups that [Rose El-Yousef] says comprise the Muslim Brotherhood network in America.”

That’s an understatement.

Here’s a healthy dose of facts pertaining to Hussain’s role in the Obama administration and his association with Muslim Brotherhood organizations in the United States:

  • Hussain was appointed Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Countries by Obama in   February 2010.
  • In 2013, Hussain met with Abdullah Bin Bayyah at the White House. Bayyah is a Vice President of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS). IUMS is headed by Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is banned from entering the United States.
  • In 2013, Hussain was a Forum Speaker at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, held in Doha, Qatar. This event is co-hosted by the Brookings Saban Center, and the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • In 2012, Hussain attended the U.S.-Islamic World Conference in Doha, Qatar. With him were future Presidential Chief-of-Staff Denis McDonough, Imam Mohamed Magid (President of the Islamic Society of North America, ISNA), and Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah.
  • In May 2009, Mr. Hussain was one of the speakers at a Leadership Summit of the Council for Advancement of Muslim Professionals (CAMP). Many of the sponsoring organizations of that event are tied to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood including Islamic Relief, Amana Mutual Funds, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. (From GlobalMBWatch.com)
  • In 2008, Hussain co-authored a paper for the Brookings Institution, Reformulating the Battle of Ideas: Understanding the Role of Islam in Counterterrorism Policy.   This paper explicitly calls for the American government not to reject political Islam, but to utilize Islamic scholars and Islamic “policymaking” to reject “terrorism.” It also recommends that “policymakers should reject the use of language that provides a religious legitimization of terrorism such as ‘Islamic terrorism’ and ‘Islamic extremist.’” (Brookings has taken millions of dollars from the Muslim Brotherhood government of Qatar.)
  • In 2004, Hussain spoke at a Muslim Students Association’s (MSA) conference in Chicago. There he defended Sami al-Arian, a Palestinian activist who had been indicted by the Department of Justice for racketeering, calling it a “politically motivated persecution.”


Dissembling and Procrastination from Obama and his Puppets

In October, former CIA Chief and Secretary of Defense (both positions held under Obama) Leon Panetta expressed what should have been treated as an incredible opinion. The war against ISIS, Panetta stated, would be a “30-year war.”

Let’s state the obvious: if you’re planning a 30-year war, are you planning victory, or a prolonged, dragged out, and humiliating defeat? The Nazis were defeated in much less than 30 years’ time, and ISIS right now is no German Wehrmacht. Not even close… not yet, anyway.

That stupefying statement by an Obama-appointed public figure, as unbelievable as it was, was actually trumped this week by State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf. Harf, speaking after the world had recently witnessed the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot and the mass beheadings of Coptic Christians in Libya, claimed that the United States could “not kill ourselves out of his war. We need in the medium and longer term to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it is lack of opportunity for jobs.” ISIS certainly seems to believe they can kill themselves out of this war, whether the murdered are men, women, or children.

But not according to the U.S. Department of State. Instead, to defeat ISIS, Libyans need jobs (or something, right Ms. Harf?). This is just too ironic, considering that the Obama administration is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, and there are a record number of Americans long-term out of work.

How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Jihad

Americans aren’t all that familiar with Islam, jihad, honor killings, or the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the most recent U.S. Census, less than one million people in the United States speak Arabic at home.

So, maybe it makes sense to listen to the government of Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928, when it states publicly that ISIS is an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. The shock value here is minimized when one remembers that Al Qaeda, Hamas, Boko Haram, and the Taliban are all Muslim Brotherhood spinoffs.

Then again, other spinoffs of the Brotherhood include CAIR, ISNA, MPAC, and the MSA. Rashad Hussain, the chief architect of a bogus cyberwar strategy against ISIS, is a well-known associate of these groups going back more than a decade. It’s a matter of public record.

Not even in 30 years will this “strategy” defeat ISIS. It’s not designed to. It’s designed to defeat us.

As an infamous 1991 memo of the Muslim Brotherhood stated, “The Ikhwan (i.e., Muslim Brotherhood) must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

Obama consistently defends Islam, yet has no problem lecturing Americans about the Crusades (which ended long before Columbus sailed to the Americas). If we the people don’t get serious about stopping this modern day jihad soon, the sabotage from within will soon be complete.


Copts beheaded in Libya, Copt burned alive in Egypt

By: Dr. Ashraf Ramelah
Voice of the Copts



Once again, tragedy strikes the Coptic community with the brutal murders of twenty-one Christian Copts in Libya. Living under constant threat of a hate-driven and blood-thirsty Islam, Copts of Egypt have learned to expect anything at any time, and mourners go about the streets. A few days ago a young Coptic man was burned alive in the province of Al-Minya. Muslims harassed and targeted this youth in the heart of a peaceful village hoping to spark the retaliation of Copts in order to trigger destabilization of the region. But Copts have not reacted, waiting instead for law enforcement to take its course.

For more than 1,430 years, Copts have suffered the brutality and aggression of Islamic doctrine along with Jews and other non-Muslims. History shows how Islamic doctrine played an important role during WWI and in WWII with the massacre of more than six million Jews in Europe.  As well, Muslims become victims of their own system. A video showing a Jordanian pilot hostage set ablaze recently caused Jordan’s leader to respond with military action.

Copts killed in libya

Copts killed in Libya

Egypt leads the world against terror

However, one leader who has truly taken the lead against terrorism in the moment is Egyptian president Al-Sisi as the Egyptian military strikes at ISIS in Libya. Al-Sisi’s war against Islamic terrorism began during his presidential election campaign when he asked for the renewal of Islamic discourse and implied that the status of religious minorities should be one of equality as he declared that “there are no religious minorities in Egypt.”

Egypt strikes Libya jihadists

Egypt strikes Libya jihadists

Voice of the Copts supports Egypt’s President Al-Sisi in his war against Islamic terrorism and hopes that other leaders will follow in his footsteps in order to protect the world from further atrocities. The question that arises now concerns world leaders who listen and take their lead from the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian terror organization banned from Egypt, to actually aid its branches of terror in the Middle East rather than oppose them. Will Egypt’s current strike against Libya be countered by unlikely sources behind ISIS on the ground?

Voice of the Copts offers condolences

We offer our condolences to the grieving families of those who suffered barbaric acts most recently in Libya and Syria. Also, our sympathy goes out to the family and community members of the young Copt burned alive in Egypt’s Al-Minya Province.

We must continue to remember all the lost souls sacrificed to racial and religious genocide and from this gain the strength to fight for freedom and liberty around the world.

Dr. Ashraf Ramelah
Founder, President
Voice of the Copts

* * *

Ashraf Ramelah was interviewed by Al-Arabiya newspaper on March 17, 2015 in response to Egypt’s airstrikes against Libya:

Al-Arabiya: Egypt is bombing ISIS targets in Libya and so far has launched eight strikes immediately following the release of the purported execution video of Egyptian hostages. How far will Egypt go?

AR: Chances are good that Egypt will stop at nothing now. The leaders of ISIS miscalculated Al Sisi. With these killings, ISIS was testing Al Sisi’s sincerity on his commitment to fight Islamic terrorism, which Al Sisi has so far defined as Islamic hate doctrine and its violent perpetrators. ISIS wanted to call Al Sisi’s bluff on this issue demonstrating that Al Sisi would not attack Muslim Islamic fighters on behalf of Egyptian Copts and avenge the killings of Christians. Had ISIS been correct in its calculation, ISIS would have succeeded in achieving an internal problem for Al Sisi. Al Sisi would have lost his support from the Christian population and others inside Egypt to destabilize his position. ISIS has now discovered that Al Sisi is far from its hero Morsi.

Al-Arabiya: Do you think this aerial campaign will last?

AR: Yes. Al Sisi put Islamic terrorists on notice awhile back. I believe Al Sisi’s campaign now will last until Egypt achieves its calculated goals set by the Egyptian military.

Al-Arabiya: Do you see Egypt joining the anti-ISIS coalition officially?

AR: Anti-ISIS coalition? — There is none. Egypt and Jordan stand and act alone. They are the only Islamic countries ready to fight against Islamic terrorism in the Middle East.

Al-Arabiya: Will Egypt now divert focus away from Sinai insurgency and focus more on threats from Libya?

AR: No. I believe that Egypt will remain in Sinai to combat Hamas because this is a priority of Egypt’s new president. Egypt is strong enough militarily to be on both fronts at this time. If the slaughter of 21 Egyptians by ISIS is to instigate a diversion tactic to summon Al Sisi to a second front and ease up on Hamas, ISIS is sorely mistaken. ISIS will now face a fierce enemy and will most likely be completely annihilated in Libya. In doing so, will Egypt do a favor for the American president or create a problem for his administration? It is hard to tell.


Gov. Hogan’s proposal to abolish rain tax a sign of Maryland’s ‘new direction’

By: James Simpson

Rain tax, flush tax, Maryland’s newly elected governor hopes to make it all water under the bridge

Gov. Larry Hogan made history in 2014 as only the third GOP governor elected in over 40 years. He did so based on promises to reel in the many excessive taxes imposed on the state by former Gov. Martin O’Malley and to take the state in a “new direction.” This Tuesday, he took the first step, proposing legislation to abolish Maryland’s infamous “rain tax.”

Shutterstock Image

Shutterstock Image: NO TAXATION ON CONDENSATION: Gov. Hogan is getting to work on his tax cutting campaign promises by proposing legislation to get rid of Maryland’s notorious rain tax.

Maryland is the only state in the nation to impose such a tax. Formally called the storm water runoff fee, its ostensible purpose is to fund efforts to abate nitrogen and phosphorus pollution into the Chesapeake Bay from storm water runoff. Individuals and businesses are charged a variable tax, based on the area of impermeable surface on their property. For businesses, the fee can run into thousands of dollars annually.

On top of all the other taxes and regulations imposed on Maryland citizens and businesses, it convinced voters, registered as Democrats at a ratio of 2 to 1 over Republicans, to give Hogan a 4 point victory over his Democratic opponent last November, despite being heavily outspent. But Hogan has his work cut out for him.

Democrats still enjoy substantial majorities in both houses of the state Legislature, and gave O’Malley a blank check to do virtually whatever he wanted. Despite claiming he cut the budget by $9.1 billion, spending grew from $29 billion in FY 2007 to $38.9 billion for FY 2015 under O’Malley’s watch– a 34 percent increase.

To help finance this spending spree O’Malley rained down 40 new taxes costing Marylanders $9.5 billion during his tenure. Hogan estimates that by 2018, taxpayers will have shelled out a total of $20 billion for these taxes if nothing is done.

Many of these, including the notorious “rain tax” were rationalized as essential to fighting Chesapeake Bay pollution. But the former governor became notorious for repeatedly raiding funds specifically set aside for this and other purposes.

For example, the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund (BRF) was created in 2004 ostensibly to cut Bay pollution from waste water treatment plants (WWTP) and septic tanks. This fund is paid for by one of Maryland’s other notorious fees, the “flush tax.” In addition to regular water bills, Marylanders must pay an annual fee for the privilege of flushing their toilets. The tax was doubled in 2012, supposedly to cover cost increases. But the O’Malley administration repeatedly raided the fund. Published accounts estimated at least $135 million removed between 2009 and 2013.

But it was actually more than twice that amount. No problem, said O’Malley, just issue bonds to replace the depleted funds. And that is what the state did. In its 2014 annual BRF status report, the state listed the current funding level at $586 million, of which $290 million was in state obligation bonds issued to replace $290 million “transferred to the general fund.” (See p. 9). In other words, over half the BRF has been financed by debt, despite a doubling of the flush tax.

O’Malley similarly raided Maryland’s Transportation Trust Fund to the tune of $1.1 billion. Despite receiving $771 million in stimulus funds for transportation and infrastructure projects, he repeatedly raised the gas tax used to finance the fund. Democratic State Comptroller Peter Franchot protested a 2013 gas tax increase saying that “it’s going to be for general fund relief, not traffic congestion relief.”

Meanwhile, the justification for some of these taxes rests on arguments that are shallower than a mud puddle. For example, EPA pollution targets for Maryland’s storm water runoff equate to a mere 0.6 percent of the Bay’s annual nitrogen load and 1 percent of the phosphorus load. The state anticipates having to spend $7.4 billion between now and 2025 to meet these targets. This amounts to an abatement cost of $3,442 per pound of pollutant.

Conspicuously absent from the various Bay analyses are the many “illegal” spills of municipal sewer systems. These occur when sewer pipes either jam or pumping stations malfunction. Sewage then backs up and spills over into storm water pipes where it empties directly into the Bay. The state tracks these spills, but because they are considered “illegal” they are not counted in official estimates; neither are they included in WWTP or storm water reduction targets.

The numbers however, are substantial. 3.8 billion gallons of raw sewage has been pumped into the Bay between 2005 and 2013. That equates to approximately 16 million tons, or two million tons per year for the time in question, if one assumes the weight of water – more if the sewage is heavier.

Marylanders have suffered through eight years under the former governor, as these few examples suggest. Taxpayers and businesses with the wherewithal to do so have been leaving the state in droves to avoid it. According to Hogan’s Change Maryland website:

Since 2007, nearly 31,000 Marylander’s fled to other states, the highest in the region, 6500 small businesses have left or shut down, the second-highest in the region, and just three Fortune 500 companies remain in the state. This is a sharp contrast to 24 large corporate headquarters in Virginia and 23 in Pennsylvania.

One of the most recent departures was firearms manufacturer Beretta USA, which is moving its U.S. manufacturing facility to Tennessee. The company had been located in Maryland for 40 years. The decision was made following enactment of a widely unpopular gun measure that O’Malley pushed through despite an unprecedented uproar from citizens throughout the state. That was O’Malley’s style.

Gov. Hogan hopes to cultivate Democratic support for his “new direction” tax and spending plans. He needs their support. It remains to be seen whether or not he will get it.

This article was written by a contributor of Watchdog Arena, Franklin Center’s network of writers, bloggers, and citizen journalists.


The EPA’s Ozone Nightmare

By: Alan Carbua
Warning Signs


Putting aside its insane attack on carbon dioxide, declaring the most essential gas on Earth, other than oxygen, a “pollutant”, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently engaged in trying to further regulate ozone for no apparent reason other than its incessant attack on the economy.

In late January on behalf of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), Dr. Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D, filed his testimony on the proposed national ambient air quality standard for ozone. The EPA wants to lower the current ozone standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to a range of 70 to 65 ppb, and even as low as 60 ppb.

“After promulgation of the current ozone standards in 2008,” Dr. Cohen noted, “EPA two years later called a temporary halt to the nationwide implementation of the standard in response to the severe recession prevailing at the time.”

In other words, it was deemed bad for the economy. “Now, EPA is proposing a new, more stringent standard even before the current standard has been fully implemented and even though, according to the EPA’s own data, ozone concentrations have declined by 33 percent since 1980.”

OzoneAccording to Wikipedia: “Ozone is a powerful oxidant (far more so than dioxygen) and has many industrial and consumer applications related to oxidation. This same high oxidizing potential, however, causes ozone to damage mucous and respiratory tissues in animals, and also tissues in plants, above concentrations of about 100 ppb. This makes ozone a potent respiratory hazard and pollutant near ground level. However, the so-called ozone layer (a portion of the stratosphere with a higher concentration of ozone, from two to eight ppm) is beneficial, preventing damaging ultraviolet light from reaching the Earth’s surface, to the benefit of both plants and animals.”

So, yes, reducing ozone in the ground level atmosphere does have health benefits, but the EPA doesn’t just enforce the Clean Air Act, it also seeks to reinterpret and use it in every way possible to harm the economy.

As Dr. Cohen pointed out, “the Clean Air Act requires EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee to produce an evaluation of the adverse effects, including economic impact, of obtaining and maintaining a tighter standard. Despite repeated requests from Congress, (the Committee) has not produced the legally required evaluation. By ignoring this statutory mandate, and moving ahead with its ozone rulemaking, EPA is showing contempt for the rule of law and for the taxpayers who provide the agency’s funding.”

Since President Obama took office in 2009 he has used the EPA as one of his primary tools to harm the U.S. economy. In a Feb 2 Daily Caller article, Michael Bastasch reported that “Tens of thousands of coal mine and power plant workers have lost their jobs under President Obama, and more layoffs could be on the way as the administration continues to pile on tens of billions of dollars in regulatory costs.”

The American Coal Council’s CEO Betsy Monseu also testified regarding the proposed ozone standards, noting that the increased reductions would affect power plants, industrial plants, auto, agriculture, commercial and residential buildings, and more.

Citing a study undertaken for the National Association of Manufacturers, “a 60 ppb ozone standard would result in a GDP reduction of $270 billion per year, a loss of up to 2.9 million jobs equivalents annually, and a reduction of $1,570 in average annual household consumption. Electricity costs could increase up to 23% and natural gas cost by up to 52% over the period to 2040.”

In a rational society, imposing such job losses and increased costs when the problem is already being solved would make no sense, but we all live in Obama’s society these days and that means increasing ozone standards only make sense if you want to harm the economy in every way possible.

© Alan Caruba, 2015


Trevor Loudon On The Air Tonight – The Betrayal Papers – Under Obama: The U.S. Captured by the Muslim Brotherhood

Hat Tip: Dick Manasseri

Trevor Loudon will be interviewed by John McCulloch
Thursday 2/19 at 6 PM EASTERN
WDTK 1400 AM 92.7 FM The Patriot
Listen Live oline – http://saleminteractivemedia.com/ListenLive/player/WDTKAM
Call-in to talk with Trevor and John – 800-923-9385

The Betrayal Papers – Under Obama: The U.S. Captured by the Muslim Brotherhood


The most important article about ISIS you will read this year

Doug Ross @ Journal
Hat Tip: BB

Kudos to Graeme Wood of The Atlantic, whose tour de force backgrounder on the burgeoning Caliphate in the Middle East (“What ISIS Really Wants“) is the kind of journalism that vintage media should engage in, but never does.

The entire article is an absolute must-read, but a digest version — summarizing the key graphs — is excerpted below. It’s a very short-form version of Graeme’s work, which you simply must read when you have the time to fully absorb it. The gravity of his findings cannot be overstated.

[ISIS] seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.

Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world…

…In conversation, [ISIS] insist[s it] will not—cannot—waver from governing precepts that were embedded in Islam by the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers. They often speak in codes and allusions that sound odd or old-fashioned to non-Muslims, but refer to specific traditions and texts of early Islam.

To take one example: In September, Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments—the stoning and crop destruction—juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide…

…But Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion, and his exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone—unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away.

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam…

…Denying the holiness of the Koran or the prophecies of Muhammad is straightforward apostasy. But Zarqawi and the state he spawned take the position that many other acts can remove a Muslim from Islam. These include, in certain cases, selling alcohol or drugs, wearing Western clothes or shaving one’s beard, voting in an election—even for a Muslim candidate—and being lax about calling other people apostates. Being a Shiite, as most Iraqi Arabs are, meets the standard as well, because the Islamic State regards Shiism as innovation, and to innovate on the Koran is to deny its initial perfection. (The Islamic State claims that common Shiite practices, such as worship at the graves of imams and public self-flagellation, have no basis in the Koran or in the example of the Prophet.) That means roughly 200 million Shia are marked for death. So too are the heads of state of every Muslim country, who have elevated man-made law above Sharia by running for office or enforcing laws not made by God.

Following takfiri doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people. The lack of objective reporting from its territory makes the true extent of the slaughter unknowable, but social-media posts from the region suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions every few weeks. Muslim “apostates” are the most common victims. Exempted from automatic execution, it appears, are Christians who do not resist their new government. Baghdadi permits them to live, as long as they pay a special tax, known as the jizya, and acknowledge their subjugation. The Koranic authority for this practice is not in dispute…

…Many mainstream Muslim organizations have gone so far as to say the Islamic State is, in fact, un-Islamic. It is, of course, reassuring to know that the vast majority of Muslims have zero interest in replacing Hollywood movies with public executions as evening entertainment. But Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, “embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion” that neglects “what their religion has historically and legally required.” Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, he said, are rooted in an “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.”

…According to Haykel, the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor. Koranic quotations are ubiquitous. “Even the foot soldiers spout this stuff constantly,” Haykel said. “They mug for their cameras and repeat their basic doctrines in formulaic fashion, and they do it all the time.” He regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he said. “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else…”

…In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day…”

…The Koran specifies crucifixion as one of the only punishments permitted for enemies of Islam. The tax on Christians finds clear endorsement in the Surah Al-Tawba, the Koran’s ninth chapter, which instructs Muslims to fight Christians and Jews “until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” The Prophet, whom all Muslims consider exemplary, imposed these rules and owned slaves…

…The last caliphate was the Ottoman empire, which reached its peak in the 16th century and then experienced a long decline, until the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, euthanized it in 1924. But Cerantonio, like many supporters of the Islamic State, doesn’t acknowledge that caliphate as legitimate, because it didn’t fully enforce Islamic law, which requires stonings and slavery and amputations, and because its caliphs were not descended from the tribe of the Prophet, the Quraysh.

Baghdadi spoke at length of the importance of the caliphate in his Mosul sermon. He said that to revive the institution of the caliphate—which had not functioned except in name for about 1,000 years—was a communal obligation. He and his loyalists had “hastened to declare the caliphate and place an imam” at its head, he said. “This is a duty upon the Muslims—a duty that has been lost for centuries … The Muslims sin by losing it, and they must always seek to establish it.” Like bin Laden before him, Baghdadi spoke floridly, with frequent scriptural allusion and command of classical rhetoric. Unlike bin Laden, and unlike those false caliphs of the Ottoman empire, he is Qurayshi…

…The caliph is required to implement Sharia. Any deviation will compel those who have pledged allegiance to inform the caliph in private of his error and, in extreme cases, to excommunicate and replace him if he persists. (“I have been plagued with this great matter, plagued with this responsibility, and it is a heavy responsibility,” Baghdadi said in his sermon.) In return, the caliph commands obedience—and those who persist in supporting non-Muslim governments, after being duly warned and educated about their sin, are considered apostates…

…[Cleric Anmem] Choudary said Sharia has been misunderstood because of its incomplete application by regimes such as Saudi Arabia, which does behead murderers and cut off thieves’ hands. “The problem,” he explained, “is that when places like Saudi Arabia just implement the penal code, and don’t provide the social and economic justice of the Sharia—the whole package—they simply engender hatred toward the Sharia.” That whole package, he said, would include free housing, food, and clothing for all, though of course anyone who wished to enrich himself with work could do so.

Abdul Muhid, 32, continued along these lines. He was dressed in mujahideen chic when I met him at a local restaurant: scruffy beard, Afghan cap, and a wallet outside of his clothes, attached with what looked like a shoulder holster. When we sat down, he was eager to discuss welfare. The Islamic State may have medieval-style punishments for moral crimes (lashes for boozing or fornication, stoning for adultery), but its social-welfare program is, at least in some aspects, progressive to a degree that would please an MSNBC pundit. Health care, he said, is free. (“Isn’t it free in Britain, too?,” I asked. “Not really,” he said. “Some procedures aren’t covered, such as vision.”) This provision of social welfare was not, he said, a policy choice of the Islamic State, but a policy obligation inherent in God’s law…

…If we had identified the Islamic State’s intentions early, and realized that the vacuum in Syria and Iraq would give it ample space to carry them out, we might, at a minimum, have pushed Iraq to harden its border with Syria and preemptively make deals with its Sunnis. That would at least have avoided the electrifying propaganda effect created by the declaration of a caliphate just after the conquest of Iraq’s third-largest city. Yet, just over a year ago, Obama told The New Yorker that he considered ISIS to be al-Qaeda’s weaker partner. “If a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” the president said…

…One way to un-cast the Islamic State’s spell over its adherents would be to overpower it militarily and occupy the parts of Syria and Iraq now under caliphate rule. Al‑Qaeda is ineradicable because it can survive, cockroach-like, by going underground. The Islamic State cannot. If it loses its grip on its territory in Syria and Iraq, it will cease to be a caliphate. Caliphates cannot exist as underground movements, because territorial authority is a requirement: take away its command of territory, and all those oaths of allegiance are no longer binding. Former pledges could of course continue to attack the West and behead their enemies, as freelancers. But the propaganda value of the caliphate would disappear, and with it the supposed religious duty to immigrate and serve it…

…Properly contained, the Islamic State is likely to be its own undoing. No country is its ally, and its ideology ensures that this will remain the case. The land it controls, while expansive, is mostly uninhabited and poor. As it stagnates or slowly shrinks, its claim that it is the engine of God’s will and the agent of apocalypse will weaken, and fewer believers will arrive. And as more reports of misery within it leak out, radical Islamist movements elsewhere will be discredited: No one has tried harder to implement strict Sharia by violence. This is what it looks like…

…It would be facile, even exculpatory, to call the problem of the Islamic State “a problem with Islam.” The religion allows many interpretations, and Islamic State supporters are morally on the hook for the one they choose. And yet simply denouncing the Islamic State as un-Islamic can be counterproductive, especially if those who hear the message have read the holy texts and seen the endorsement of many of the caliphate’s practices written plainly within them.

Muslims can say that slavery is not legitimate now, and that crucifixion is wrong at this historical juncture. Many say precisely this. But they cannot condemn slavery or crucifixion outright without contradicting the Koran and the example of the Prophet. “The only principled ground that the Islamic State’s opponents could take is to say that certain core texts and traditional teachings of Islam are no longer valid,” Bernard Haykel says. That really would be an act of apostasy.