Can we be honest about the motive of ISIS terrorists?

President Obama and other politicians worldwide steadfastly maintain that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam and most liberal non-Muslims share this opinion. Several Muslims, too, express the same view. They label the terrorists ‘misguided youths’ but don’t seem to be interested who or what misguides them.

On the other hand, those who joined ISIS are clear: “We follow the true Islam”, they declare with full conviction and ridicule those who think otherwise.

Who is right?

Is it difficult to discover? Killing people who go peacefully about their daily lives clearly goes against human nature. So why do they do it? Apart from some pathological cases, the reason is that they are convinced that they do the right thing. Of course, these youths are misguided, but by whom or what?

To be fair – the Islamists are not the first to be misguided. Communists and Nazis were misguided by divisive ideologies, which made them believe that, if certain people are dead, a glorious future awaits them.

Christians were misguided by their baseless belief that heathen and heretics are an eyesore to their god and are better done away with if they refuse to join the “true faith.” Thanks to the pressure of a more enlightened civil society, they had to give up torturing and killing in the name of God a couple of centuries ago. Yet many Christians still wrongly believe that they have to convert the whole world to Christianity – if not by force, then by allurement and deceit.

Prime Minister David Cameron recently described the ISIS as “one of the biggest threats our world has faced”. So surely it is of utmost importance to understand what drives them. The German ‘SZ- Magazin’ (link below) carried an eye-opening interview with a would-be ISIS-Jihadi that gives insight into their mindset.

It is about Erhan, a handsome, almost shy youth of 22 years, of Turkish origin. Some of his friends are in Syria. He tried to join them but didn’t succeed on his first attempt. A few years ago, he became dissatisfied with the lukewarm “Euro-fake” Islam that his parents practice. His father doesn’t even pray, he rued, and his mother distorts the Quran so that it fits her interpretation. He wanted to follow the ‘real’ Islam and started to read the Quran. He grew a beard, prayed 5 times a day, went to the mosque and even wore a turban to school. His classmates asked him what happened, and he told them about the Quran. They never asked him again. “I had expected more criticism from them,” Erhan said.

He and his friends were banned from the local mosques in their Bavarian town because they kept lecturing the Muslims there that they don’t follow the Quran correctly and need to oppose democracy. However, the ban convinced them that they were on the right path, because “in the Quran is written that there will be opposition”.

Erhan is convinced that Islam is the only true religion, and he wants ISIS to create a state where “the Quran is lived as Allah wants it”. In his view, the present Islamic countries, like Turkey, are not really following what Allah wants. When the interviewer reminded him of ISIS’s brutality, he replied, “If one kills for a good cause, it is legitimate”.

One of Erhan’s friends, David, recently died fighting in Aleppo and another one, Philipp, became a suicide bomber after he was injured. “Were you sad?” he is asked. “At first a little, but I also envied them, because I know where they are”, he replied, but he strongly rebuked the notion that it is because of the virgins. “Honestly, if only women were to be gained, I would not do it. I do it for Allah.”

He comes across as a naïve young man who wanted to make his life meaningful and found guidance in the Quran. He connected with like-minded youngsters. They checked out several groups and became convinced that ISIS is the best to join because its goal is clearly in tune with the Quran: the goal to spread the Islamic State further and further till the whole world is for Allah.

“Oh believers, fight them until there is no more mischief and the Deen of Allah (way of life prescribed by Allah) is established completely” (Quran 8.39)

“Oh believers, fighting has been made obligatory for you much to your dislike. It is quite possible that what you dislike is good for you… Allah knows and you do not.” (Quran 2.216)

“Those believers who stay at home – having no physical disabilities – are not equal to those who make Jihad in the cause of Allah with their wealth and person. Allah has granted a higher rank to those who make Jihad… They have special higher ranks, forgiveness and mercy. Allah is forgiving, merciful” (Quran 4.95/6)

Could Erhan and his friends have any doubt what these and similar passages mean? Does it need an Islam expert to interpret them? If the experts had come to the conclusion that those passages were meant exclusively for the contemporaries of Mohammed and not for all time thereafter, they should have said this loud and clear long ago – too much blood has been shed over the last 14 centuries, much of it in India. But those experts kept quiet. Does it follow that the Quran exhorts Muslims to fight till the “Deen of Allah is established’?

The command to fight the enemy appeals to young men. Islam is far more successful than Christianity to make men stand by their religion. Christianity is seen as a religion for women and children. At least that was the impression I got in my youth. Men generally went to Sunday mass in small town Bavaria, but they made sure not to look pious. They considered it a social affair to meet friends. Only the clergy can afford to look pious. It is different in Islam.

A German police study which questioned 45,000 students between 14 and 16 years of age about their level of religiosity and their readiness to be violent, confirmed this:

Girls were more religious than boys in all religions except in Islam, where boys were more religious than girls. Further the study found that that those who considered themselves more religious were less inclined to be violent in all religions, except – again – in Islam. There the boys who considered themselves more religious were more inclined to be violent.

Even small boys like toy guns. Bigger boys want a good reason to fight. A divine command to fight those, who are evil, is the perfect reason for many youngsters. Further, there is the ‘divine promise’ that it will be a win-win situation: if one dies, one is guaranteed to enjoy Paradise and if one lives, one may benefit from the wealth and the women of those killed.

There are many passages in the Quran where the unbelievers are portrayed as most despicable, for whom perdition and eternal Hellfire are certain. Even the torture in Hell is described in horrific detail:

“There are the two adversaries (the believers and disbelievers) who dispute with each other about their Rabb: as for the disbelievers, garments of Fire will be cut out for them, boiling water will be poured over their heads, which will not only melt their skins but also the inner parts of their bellies, and there will be maces of iron to lash them. Whenever, in their anguish, they cry to escape therefrom, they will be forced back therein, and will be told: “Taste the punishment of conflagration!” (Quran 22.19-22)

Do such passages explain the savagery of ISIS? Have the vivid images of Hell over the centuries instigated the brutalities of the Christian Inquisition and of the Muslim invaders in India and elsewhere? Was there such brutality against civilians before the arrival of religions which claimed ‘eternal hellfire for unbelievers’?

If Erhan succeeds in going to Syria, he is ready to behead unbelievers and also Muslims who are not following what Allah really wants, he said. He does it for Allah, not for the virgins. Secondary incentives may exist. His friends in Syria share photos via Facebook. “They live in luxury, have computers, guns, snacks”, Erhan said.

This may sound attractive not only for young men, bored with the monotonous life in the west. For girls, too, it may be appealing to get ‘brave’ husbands and become part of a community of young people who have a genuine cause that is ordained by God himself as it were. Some German girls from a Christian background are also drawn to those intense, handsome men who are not shy to talk about Allah. “Only yesterday we converted a girl”, Erhan said.

It is difficult to see in him the ruthless terrorist. But he may turn out to become just that – a ruthless killer. He said that he would kill even his parents if they oppose the Islamic State. “In 20, 30 years the Islamic State will be in Germany and gradually will cover the whole planet”, he is sure.

Are we not responsible to stop these youngsters from destroying themselves and others? Yet is it possible as long as those passages are considered the word of Allah? Even if ISIS gets defeated in near future, new terror groups will continue to draw legitimacy from those passages, and powerbrokers can motivate youngsters for their own interests, making them believe that Allah will be pleased. Those passages have tremendous potential to mobilize youngsters for a cause that is worthwhile and just in their eyes. They don’t realize that they are used – like the US used the Taliban to fight the Russians in Afghanistan.

Erhan’s parents in Germany, his uncle in Turkey, imams of the local mosques – all tried to prevent him from turning radical. But what can they tell him? That he should not take the Quran seriously? That Allah didn’t mean what he said? Erhan considers those imams who are against ISIS as old, confused men. And logically he has a point, but it could also make him wonder why older Muslims, including imams, do not opt to become suicide bombers even if they have a serious illness. Are they not convinced that Paradise is guaranteed by killing others?

“What can stop you”, the journalist asked him.

His answer: “Nobody can stop me.”

He is right. No outsider can stop him. If a Muslim tries to influence him, he will see in him a hypocrite who tests his faith in the ‘true’ Islam. And if an unbeliever tries to influence him, he is sure that he only wants him to leave the right path.

But there is one thing that can stop him: it is doubt. Once doubt springs up on its own, it is not possible to regain the former blind belief. I know this from own experience, as I also once believed in eternal Hell and that God wants everyone to be Christian. If Erhan starts wondering whether the compassionate Allah really wants all this killing, he can easily come out of the grip that blind belief has on his mind.

Curiously, this option of doubting the doctrine is not considered even by western ‘unbelievers’ who are portrayed so badly in it. Why? I can only guess that there is too much at stake for the powers that be. If Islam comes under a cloud as not being the only true religion, Christianity will also come under a cloud, because both religions have a lot in common. The Abrahamic God will need to be questioned whether he can possibly be true. This will be a major earthquake.

For centuries both religions have violently enforced their version of “the only truth” and demanded unquestionable respect. How can they allow their dogmas to be questioned? They managed to hold on to them for so long. They managed to get altogether over 3 billion people into their fold. How can they admit that dogmatic religions generally do not make human beings better, but on many occasions worse? They managed to successfully demean those traditions that are closer to the truth, especially India’s tradition. How can they let all this go waste?

So what is their solution? Put the head into the sand and declare: “ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. Terror has no religion” and continue to hit out at those who are in a position to question your truth, so that they become defensive and won’t dare to challenge you for a debate.

The viciousness with which Christianity and Islam attack ‘Hindu fundamentalists’ almost seems to indicate that both consider Hindus a greater enemy than ISIS and other equally violent groups. To some extent they are right. India’s wisdom can expose the weak basis of their belief systems. This seems to be a great fear for them. The religions who claim to be the only true religions fear a genuine debate on what the truth is. The don’t want to hear that truth cannot possibly be linked to only one name and only one concept, and that truth cannot possibly be dependent on some ‘correct’ thoughts in human heads. It is the eternal, indivisible, one consciousness in all.

By Maria Wirth

Link to the interview in the magazine

6 Responses

  1. Lizzie says:

    Throughout history-,murder,cruelty,torture and extortion has been endemic where Islam has control. Slavery of all kinds is practiced plus sexual exploitation of children and women. Exceptional animal cruelty is noted.
    In the West at the present time apart from the odd bombings and murders here and there muslims lie low until they build up their numbers. Once they have a large number of muslims(very useful in a democracy) they try to introduce Sharia and other restrictions. Bit by bit with deliberate planning they take over.
    The fools in our society, useful infidels, who welcome and fawn on them are thanked and treated with respect and kindness. These same infidels are grossly abused in Islamic countrie,just look at the Yazides,Christians,Buddhists and Hindus.. The lies and deceptions of muslims should not be underrated.
    We all need to be aware of the threat and support Geert Wilders,Marie Le-Pen and others who are prepared to fight for freedom for the many idiots amongst us who do nothing and are in denial.

  2. Face_The_Truth says:

    [] MARIA WIRTH: It is difficult to see in him the ruthless terrorist. But Erhan may turn out to become just that — a ruthless killer. Erhan said that he would kill even his parents if they oppose the Islamic State. []

    One potent way to prevent ruthless Muslim terrorists from committing Islamic terrorism is giving ruthless Muslim terrorists the same dose of violent terrorism!


    ‘Islamic terrorists think of kidnapping innocent people as a quick way to extort families and bribe foreign governments.

    But, Islamic terrorists never go after the Russians!

    In 1989 Islamic terrorists got into Beirut, Lebanon, where four Russian diplomats were working.

    The Russian diplomats were taken hostage, and the terrorists killed one of them, and left his body in a field.

    …the Muslim terrorists thought a dead Russian diplomat, left in a field, would scare the Russians!

    Immediately the Russian government sent troops out to capture a family member of a top-level Hizb’Allah Islamic terrorist, a radical Shi’ite Muslim.

    Not one to wait around, the Russians killed the Muslim Hizb’Allah Islamic terrorist’s family member, packed up the body parts, and sent them to the Hizb’Allah Islamic leader.

    The Russians sent a note with a clear demand: Release the Russian diplomats or we will find more of your family members!

    Quickly, the remaining three Russians were released, to the joy of their families.’

  3. Klog Belaest says:

    There is a serious difference: Christians did bad things in spite of the moral code of the Bible, and especially NT. Bad things done by Muslims were and are done in accordance with and often because of texts in the Quran, and in accordance with its moral code.

    Further: Much of bad things done by nominally Christians, were done not for religious reasons, but from economic or political ones. In Islam it is normal that religion is at least part of the reason, at least if the victims are non-muslims or belong to another branch of Islam.

    And not least: Bad deeds for religious reasons, done by Christians, have been greatly reduced the last century. For Islam it is the other way around – and that on basis of a “holy” book (the Quran) so full of wrong facts, other non-religious errors, contradictions, etc., that all the errors prove 100% that the book is not from any god. Fx.

  4. Face_The_Truth says:


    Answer: NO.

    Because, if world’s Christian leaders become HONEST about Islam, the root of Christianity (i.e., Judaism) has to be thoroughly examined.

    And, world’s Christian leaders do not want to open the can of worms, rather want to cover up the root of Islamic violence and Islamic genocide in order to cover up historic Christian crimes on non-believers!



    As we shall see, the Allãh of the Qur’ãn says again and again that Allãh is not revealing anything new, but only re-affirming what is already recorded in the earlier scripture, namely, the Bible.

    Allãh is annoyed with the Jews in particular for their refusal to recognize Muhammad as a prophet when their own prophets were known to have spread the same message received from the same source.

    Muhammad, too, is pained that his people repudiate him without checking with the Jews and the Christians the truth of what he is proclaiming.

    Muslim theologians of later ages will deny that Muhammad learnt anything from the Bible.

    In their eagerness to invest Muhammad with an absolutely original inspiration, Muslim theologians will portray Muhammad as an illiterate (ummî) who could neither read nor write.

    But we will better believe Allãh and Allãh’S prophet rather than the latter-day Muslim theologians, and proceed to examine what the Bible says vis-a-vis other people’s Gods and places of worship.

    The Bible is, of course, a large and complex composition spanning several centuries and dealing with diverse subjects.

    We shall confine ourselves to the main theme which runs through all its book except most of the Psalms and Proverbs, namely, the struggle by a succession of prophets to make the Jews stick to a strict monotheism with all its implications.

    The prophets speak on behalf of a boastful being who introduces himself as Jehovah and thunders a thousand time that he alone is worthy of worship to the exclusion of all “other Gods”.

    Moses hails Jehovah as “a warrior” whose name “the nations heard and trembled.”

    The story in the Bible starts a long time before Jehovah identifies himself to Moses.

    But that story is not relevant in the present context except at one point where Jacob asked his people to “rid yourselves of foreign Gods you have among you” and “buried them under the terebinth tree.”

    For our purpose, the story acquires interest only after Moses leads his people out of Egypt and goes up to Mount Sinai where Moses has been summoned by Jehovah “in a peal of thunder.”

    That is when Moses receives the famous Ten Commandments.

    The commandments that are relevant in the present context are the first two.

    Jehovah says:

    “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

    You shall have no other Gods set against…

  5. Walter Sieruk says:

    As for the motive of the brutal and murderous jihadists who compose the jihad entity that is ISIS my be explained,in part, by the following. An outlandishly false statement of extreme folly I saw for the first time on a tee-shirt a young man was wearing in the year 1974. Which had printed on it the saying “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as your sincere.” That was statement of total falsehood and complete nonsense. For example, in the book entitled DEFYING ISIS by Johnnie Moore on page 30 it informs the reader about the jihadists who compose ISIS that “They sincerely believe they are doing justice by ridding the world of another generation of Christians, so they massacre them with pure joy.” In other words, the jihadist /Muslims of ISIS are sincere and thus believe and feel that they are “doing the right thing” by their brutal, cruel mass murder of Christians. Therefore, since the ISIS jihadists are sincere it followers, naturally, in their delusional Islamic mindset and worldview they actually “good intentions .” As strange, odd and ironic as this is. A semi-good way to explain this would is in history many Marxists had murdered many people to obtain the goal of the “greater good for a workers paradise.” In that aspect those murdering Marxists had “good intentions.” So in contrast to that foolishness and falsehood of folly false statement ,just sited above , is the tragic but true reality based statement .Which is that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

  6. Walter Sieruk says:

    The motive of the jihadists of ISIS is their mad Islamic quest to establish a caliphate, with all the cruel, brutal and murdering violence that is part of it, will not respond the reason. For the Muslim fanatics who compose ISIS cannot understand logic, nor do they care about reason. Those jihadists of ISIS in their irrational unquestioning blind Islamic faith have and leave no room for reason. In this unreasoning blind Islamic drive the jihadist/Muslims who make up ISIS are a reminder of what Benjamin Franklin had printed in POOR RICHARD’S ALMANACK. Which is “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”

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