How long the apocalyptic dream of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham will continue to terrify the Middle East is a strategic question for the nations opposing it, including Canada. But there’s a larger puzzle that may outlast the life of ISIS: How did it get this far? How has it persuaded thousands of young men to kill so often, and so proudly? What obsession makes them travel thousands of miles to throw themselves into a deadly battle?
Some may be foolish adventurers, but many have been taught to act this way. They may have been instructed that Allah will reward them for committing homicide and, if necessary, suicide. A stream of thought, flowing through the Middle East for almost a century, teaches them that no sacrifice is too great, no killing too wanton, if done in the name of Allah.