Islamic State beheads men for “mocking Islam,” “pledging allegiance to infidels”

This is because the Qur’an directs Muslims to “strike the necks” of the unbelievers (47:4; cf. 8:12). Beheading is necessarily a bloody, ugly thing, but if the Qur’an commands it, it is what Allah wants, and the Islamic State’s gory beheading photos are an advertisement for itself, that it is authentically and scrupulously Islamic.

The horrifying photos also have the added bonus effect of striking “terror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah,” as Muslims are also commanded to do in the Qur’an (8:60).