Sam Harris reads extracts from the ISIS propaganda publication Dabiq, giving a rather concerning inside look at how a Jihadist thinks, what they want, and why they hate us.
After a disappointing period trying to argue with all of his detractors, Sam Harris is back doing what he does best in this episode; making carefully considered points, and then reading out relevant literature that supports those points. His topic here was extremist Islam, a topic that he is somewhat infamous for discussing. As much as everybody else in social justice land has twisted themselves inside out to try and paint modern Jihadists such as ISIS as being ‘not Islamic’, or as being a political rather than religious organisation, Sam has stuck true to his point that radical Jihadist groups are very, very much all about their religion.
Now, I don’t agree with everything that Sam Harris says about religion as a whole, or Islam specifically, but on this particular point I am in full agreement with him. Why it became the politically correct position to downplay the threat of radical Islam, and to try and obscure their true motives, has never made sense to me. But that’s a rather broad point, and this podcast was about a very specific article, in a very specific online magazine.
Dabiq is an ISIS recruiting tool, filled with propaganda written by Jihadists, for potential Jihadists. Sam concentrates on an article titled Why we hate you, and why we fight you, which sends a pretty blunt and forthright message for those of us who don’t have any interest in living within the Caliphate. However, as dread-filling as the list is, and as interesting as the order of importance of the grievances are (number 1 is our rejection of Allah, number six – last and least – is foreign military intervention), it’s the identity of the author that is of most concern.
This article is not written by a native Iraqi, who has seen his own country and family destroyed for decades, and has fallen in with the local resistance. This is not some some affluent religious scholar carefully painting a picture of the world inside their own Caliphate. This is a woman born in Finland, who married into Islam, and ended up choosing to flee to Iraq to live within the Islamic State. This is a woman who openly celebrates the ‘blessing’ of having her own young son martyred, within 4 months of arriving. This is a women who enjoys living in the delusion that she does so much, that she is crafting words together to recruit other westerners to join the cause.
It really is a haunting listen, and I must applaud Sam for sticking to his guns, and continuing to have these important conversations, no matter how hard or awkward they are to have.
You don’t have to fully agree with Sam Harris, to get something from this podcast.