In the newest edition of its apocalyptic English-language propaganda magazine, the Islamic State terrorist organization refutes the long-standing mantra that Islam is a "religion of peace" and insists that Islam is a "religion of the sword."
Countering the popular opinion that Islam calls for peace among Muslims and non-Muslims alike, an article in the seventh edition of Dabiq magazine states that Allah calls for Islam to be a religion of violence and any Muslim who believes otherwise holds a heretic view.
"There is a slogan repeated continuously by apologetic 'du'at' [callers for Islam] when flirting with the West and that is their statement: 'Islam is the religion of peace,' and they mean pacifism by the word peace," reads the ISIS article, which was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
"How far is their claim from the truth, for Allah has revealed Islam to be the religion of the sword, and the evidence for this is so profuse that only a zindiq (heretic) would argue otherwise."
ISIS is notorious for its widespread torture and brutality against religious minorities, violators of ISIS' brand of Islamic law, and apostates. Many Muslims all over the world detest the Islamic State's violent actions, which include beheadings, burnings and merceless killings, and assert that the group's actions are not justified in the name of Islam.
The Dabiq article, however, also claims that Allah and the Quran specifically call on Muslims to behead all non-believers.
"[Allah] also described what should be struck with the sword, (Remember when your Lord revealed to the angels, 'I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip') [Quran 8:12]," the article continues. "[He] also said (So when you meet those who disbelieve, strike their necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens), [Quran 47:4]."
ISIS' propaganda article further contends that the sword is the only way to reach the Islamic paradise.
"His Messenger ... also described the sword as the salvation from evil and fitnah [strife]. [He] also described the sword as being the key to Jannah [paradise]," the article asserts. "He also declared that his worldly provision was placed for him in the shade of his spear and that the best livelihood for the Muslim in the future is what he takes with his sword from the kafir [unbelieving] enemy."
Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, a leading expert on ISIS' theology, agrees with the ISIS article in the sense that Western Muslims who believe that Islam is the religion of peace have a "cotton-candy view" of Islam and overlook "what their religion has historically and legally required."
"People want to absolve Islam," Haykel says in an interview with The Atlantic. "It's this 'Islam is a religion of peace' mantra. As if there is such a thing as 'Islam'! It's what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts."
Haykel adds that ISIS is interperetting the same text that peaceful Muslims are and presumes that ISIS militants are simply interpreting the Quran the same way early Medievil Muslims did. Haykel also notes that moderate Muslims choose not too act on the radical traditions presented in the sacred texts.
"Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the Medieval tradition," Haykel says. "[ISIS fighters] are smack in the middle of the Medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day."
Haykel also argues that it would be wrong to say that the Islamic State is un-Islamic just because ISIS' theology and tactics are barbaric and outdated.
"The only principled ground that the Islamic State's opponents could take is to say that certain core texts and traditional teachings of Islam are no longer valid," he continues. "What's striking about them is not just the literalism, but also the seriousness with which they read these texts. … There is an assiduous, obsessive seriousness that Muslims don't normally have."
The ISIS article concluded with the threat that Muslims will continue to draw their swords until Jesus comes to slay the Antichrist.
"[T]he sword will continue to be drawn, raised, and swung until 'Isa (Jesus — peace be upon him) kills the Dajjal (the Antichrist) and abolishes the jizyah [poll tax]," the article states. "Thereafter, kufr and its tyranny will be destroyed; Islam and its justice will prevail on the entire Earth. ... But until then, parties of kafirin will continue to be struck down by the unsheathed sword of Islam."