The Week: Is ISIS Islamic?
The president has weighed in, describing ISIS as a perversion of Islam. Graeme Wood’s massively researched cover story for The Atlantic argues that, by the lights of the group’s own adherents, yes, ISIS is very Islamic.
Still others point out that the very question is endlessly complex. Who has authority to pronounce on what is Islamic? What is the source of that authority, and how is that authority accepted?
Difficult as it may be, the question is going to become more important in the West, because the West is becoming more Islamic. Millions of Muslims have immigrated to Europe in recent decades, and it is likely that millions more will follow. The number is smaller in the United States, though the rate of Muslim immigration has increased over the last 20 years. (Reputable pollsters estimate that the U.S. population of Muslims is around 2.75 million, though the Council on American-Islamic Relations proclaims it is more than twice that.)
And it isn’t just immigration. The French author Michel Houellebecq’s new novel Soumission exaggerates wildly by foretelling a France that finds renewal in Islamization within the next decade. But Islam does win converts in the West, and there are good reasons to expect that some of the next great religious awakenings in the Western world will be Islamic ones.