Studying the Islamic State and ourselves

“…In this latest war, the Koran is the textbook of jihadists, and it doesn’t help when Westerners seek to define what is “legitimate” Islam and what is not. Many in the Islamic world reject Western values and thus any Western interpretation of their religion.

A poll published last July in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hayat news found that 92 percent of Saudis believe the Islamic State conforms to the values of Islam and Islamic law. Other polls throughout the Islamic world show large numbers of Muslims at least sympathetic, if not openly supportive, of tactics used by extremists.

While Gen. Nagata and his experts are studying the “psychology” of ISIS, they might also look to the moral and spiritual state of Europe and the United States. An argument could be made that radical Islamists have it partly right when they diagnose Western culture as “godless” and decadent. If their solution is the wrong one, we might ask ourselves what the right one would look like.”