The Guardian! ‘Most Arab states share Isis’s ideology. They’re trying to have it both ways’

(Flag of Saudi Arabia)

Compulsion in religion is the ideological foundation stone of Isis and Islamist movements in general. Believing they have superior knowledge of God’s wishes for mankind, such groups feel entitled – even required – to act on his behalf and punish those who fail to comply with the divine will. In doing so, of course, they do not claim to be seeking power for themselves but merely trying to make the world more holy.

Bombing Isis and banning Islamist movements may suppress such movements for a while but it does nothing to address the ideological problem. Unless the question of compulsion in religion is tackled head-on, and in a serious way, they will resurface later or similar groups will emerge to replace them.

Although freedom of belief is a widely accepted principle internationally, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it is still far from becoming established in the Arab countries. This is true of both governments and society.

As far as many of the Arab public are concerned, discriminating against members of the “wrong” faith, or those who hold unorthodox views, is not only acceptable, but the right thing to do. For Arab governments, enforcing religious rules and allying themselves with God helps to make up for their lack of electoral legitimacy…

Some but not all commenters are rather unhappy. Check it out. At a quick glance I see ‘this is a disgusting slur’ and — of course — talk about Israel:

Israel, which is a Jewish-nationalist State and has the A-bomb, has a tendency to murder thousands of civilians on a per annum basis, including hundreds of children. Modern political Zionism, which is the ideology that underpins Israel is statistically more bloodthirsty as ISIS.

But also:

Lets be honest many of the nations you mention are key funders and armers of Islamist groups from North Africa to Iraq and beyond. They have a clear ideological goal and our unwillingness to cut and thrust in this sphere because of cultural relativism means we can’t win the same was true of Afghanistan and will still be true in which ever of the numerous nations with resurgent Islamist movements we have to fight in next.