Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 17, 2014

ISIL, ISIS and Islam, by David Bower

The War on Terror, or Kamikazi, or Blitzkrieg?

 Our reluctance, nationally, to acknowledge the reality of the world situation we face today is disappointing to me. I know it shouldn’t be as our national leaders have been placed there by the sovereign will of God and are busy executing His plan for our nation and the world. It does not matter that national leaders, worldwide, may be totally unaware of God’s leading in their lives but leading He is.

I wonder to what extent the national leaders in the United States actually believe what they are saying or if most, if not all, of what is being said can be chalked up to political expediency or correctness.

To say we are fighting a “war on terror” is a ridiculous denial of reality that has been practiced by virtually everyone in the government and on the national media; terror is not an enemy per se, it is a tactic used by an enemy. In World War II the Japanese used a tactic called “Kamikazi” but never once did we say we were at war with “Kamikaze” in the Pacific arena; we were at war with Japan, the enemy who used Kamikaze as a terrorist suicide tactic against us.

In the European theater our enemy, Germany, used a tactic called “Blitzkrieg” but never once did we say we were at war with Blitzkrieg in Europe, we were at war with Germany and Italy. One does not wage war against a tactic, one wages war against an opposing force, an enemy who uses tactics and strategy to try and defeat us!

If Not Terror, Then Who or What?

That is not a difficult question; we are offered many clues as to the identity of the enemy. First let us consider the identity of ISIL or ISIS, the group which is making most of the headlines today. These are alternate names for the same group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The common denominator is Islamic, they make a clear claim to being Islamic and have an announced objective of establishing an Islamic Caliphate which will dominate and control the entire world.

The challenge presented to those who would seek to stop Islamic terrorist attacks is the driving force behind the attacks; an ideology that does not always have a geographic location. The enemy knows no national borders and exists in the minds of individuals who live in many traditional nations around the world. These individuals have embraced the teachings of Islam and those who are violent have chosen to follow the most recent teachings of that worldview in accordance with the Islamic doctrine of abrogation.

The Qur’an (Koran)

The tenets of Islam were written down in a volume called the Qur’an (Koran); this document was the reported words of Mohammad written down after his death by those who heard him speak. The Qur’an can be divided into two groups of writings; the Meccan verses and the Medina verses. The tone of the chapters (Suras) grows increasingly hostile between those two groups.

Muslims or Muslim defenders who try to promote Islam as a religion of peace quote the Meccan verses; the Islamic doctrine of abrogation requires that verses written later replace and cancel earlier verses on the same subject. The later verses, the Medina verses, are war-like and hostile. The next to the last chapter written, Chapter 9, contains the “verse of the sword” 9:5 “When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful.”

This, however, is only part of the story; a major part of the story of Islam involves the two distinct groups Sunni and Shia.

Two branches of Islam, Sunni and Shia

The following is a quote from the History News Network, “The Sunni branch, (which has the larger Muslim following 80-90%), believes that the first four caliphs–Mohammed’s successors–rightfully took his place as the leaders of Muslims. They recognize the heirs of the four caliphs as legitimate religious leaders. These heirs ruled continuously in the Arab world until the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, which was a Sunni caliphate, following the end of the First World War.

Shiites in contrast believe that only the heirs of the fourth caliph, Ali, are the legitimate successors of Mohammed. In 931 the Twelfth Imam disappeared. This was a seminal event in the history of Shiite Muslims. According to R. Scott Appleby, a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, “Shiite Muslims, who are concentrated in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, [believe they] had suffered the loss of divinely guided political leadership” at the time of the Imam’s disappearance. Not “until the ascendancy of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1978” did they believe that they had once again begun to live under the authority of a legitimate religious figure.” The term Shia or Shi’ite derives from a shortening of Shiat Ali or partisans of Ali.

What caused the original divide?

“The groups first diverged after the Prophet Muhammad died in 632, and his followers could not agree on whether to choose bloodline successors or leaders most likely to follow the tenets of the faith.

The group now known as Sunnis chose Abu Bakr, the prophet’s adviser, to become the first successor, or caliph, to lead the Muslim state. Shiites favored Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law. Ali and his successors are called imams, who not only lead the Shiites but are considered to be descendants of Muhammad. After the 11th imam died in 874, and his young son was said to have disappeared from the funeral, Shiites in particular came to see the child as a Messiah who had been hidden from the public by God. The largest sect of Shiites, known as “twelvers,” have been preparing for his return ever since. The Iranian leaders are all “twelvers.”

But What About ISIL/ISIS?

This group is Sunni and is devoted to the creation of the next caliphate. The last Sunni caliphate, The Ottoman Empire, came to an effective end in 1924 so the Sunni branch has essentially been without true religious leadership for almost 90 years. This is the longest timespan since 622 AD that the world has not had an active caliphate somewhere in existence.

In the next segment I will discuss the historic caliphates from 622 AD to 1924 AD.


  1. Great explanation! Well done, Sir!


    • Phil,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I had so much to say I had to break it into three parts; I think you’ll find parts 2 and 3 of equal interest.



  2. This is another great resource on a relevant topic, in this case, Islam. I get so frustrated when so-called informed news “experts” characterize the behavior of Islamic divisions, such as ISIS, et al., as extremeists, seemingly ignoring the fact that the religion of Islam(and the Qur’an) is the root of religious/political reasoning. I’ll be looking forward to the next installment. Dick Wright


    • Dick,

      I appreciate your comment and share your feelings of frustration; when I hear something particularly idiotic being said on the TV I have been know to yell at the screen as I take exception to the speaker’s words. Although they can’t hear me it does make me feel better.



  3. Dear David,
    Thank you for the article about Islam. I appreciate your knowledge about Islam and the Quran. It is true that Islam does not believe in a geographical borders. Moslem preachers aim at dominating the whole world and people. It is true that, in the Quran there the Meccan verses and the Medina verses. When Mohamad was weak, he was peaceful, but in Medina, he started to call for Jihad. ISIS and other terrorist groups adopted the Medina verses. Last July when ISIS took control of Mosul in Iraq, they gave the Christians three choices: either convert to Islam or leave or pay the tax, but the Christians decided to leave rather than convert to Islam. They did the same with the Yazidis and took their women as sex slaves. The whole world is facing the danger of Islam, so we have to do something, we have to keep communicating the Gospel message to Moslems throughout the world. This is the message, the West should know, otherwise they will find one day ISIS or alkaida on threshold of their doors. A poetry book entitled, “A Voice Crying in the Wilderness” God willing will be published for me. In this book, I address the danger of Islam in the light of the Bible. We need your prayers and your readers to be able to publish this book. Yours in Christ, Hanna


  4. Dear David,
    This a poem from my collection entitled,”A Voice Crying in the Wilderness “.
    Is it possible to publish it through your outreach?

    The Christian Exile from Mosul, Iraq

    The devils came to steal, kill, destroy and terrify,
    they came to burn, hang, behead and crucify,
    they came to drive us away from our homeland,
    to find ourselves suddenly scattered and fanned,
    by the blowing wind like a threshed pile of sand,
    left with nothing, but memories for our native land.

    They came to end the dance of joy in our eyes,
    to prevent the smile of hope on our lips to rise,
    they came to steal the peace of mind and heart,
    to make us shattered, smashed and torn-apart.

    They came to destroy churches and break crosses,
    they came with hate to make us suffer great losses,
    but the radiant church in us, they can’t demolish,
    the holy church that we cherish, they can’t perish,
    the pure church without stain, they can’t abolish,
    it will be there to preach the Gospel to the parish,
    and the deep faith in our hearts, they can’t vanish,
    their deed is the fuel for faith to burn and flourish.

    As Jesus defeated death by death on the Cross,
    as He became for me a gain and life became a loss,
    as I am no longer live, but Christ lives in me forever,
    so, this earthly life is meaningless to me whatsoever.

    By: Hanna Awwad, Jerusalem, Israel.

    Note: in July 2014, ISIS drove away the Christians from Mosul, Mesopotamia(Iraq) after refusing to convert to Islam. In the Bible Mosul is Nineveh where Jonah preached.


  5. I will be happy to publish your poem; it should appear next week.


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