I’m beginning to find it a little tiresome being told what “ISIS wants”. My irritation is in large part because people keep telling me that “what ISIS wants” is for us to do those reasonable things that any sane polity would do to eliminate a problem that is at best a serious and continuous source of trouble and grief, and at worst an existential threat.
For example, I understand that if we were to take ISIS at their word, i.e. that they are an Islamic entity that seeks to do what Islam has always said it intends to do, and in fact has always done, we would be “doing what ISIS wants”.
Well, perhaps. (I mean, if I tell someone what I’m all about for 1,400 years, and back it up with action, too, I suppose I’d “want” them to believe me, yes. Otherwise, it does get annoying, I imagine, after a few centuries go by.)
On the other hand, I have it on good authority (OK, not good authority at all; I actually heard it from Barack Obama) that if we were actually to start looking askance at, for example, mass Muslim immigration, we’d be doing “what ISIS wants”. This I find unpersuasive. I would imagine that much of what they have in mind involves disrupting our home-life, inconveniencing us in a thousand ways , and killing us en masse where they can — and try as I might, I just can’t see how all of that wouldn’t be a lot more difficult if there weren’t any of them here.
If you will forgive me, readers, I’ve actually been studying Islam pretty carefully for ten or fifteen years now, and I’ve come to understand a thing or two about it. My own understanding also coincides rather satisfyingly with what ISIS (that first ‘I’, by the way, stands for ‘Islamic’, just in case nobody’s mentioned that to you), actually says about itself, so I’m feeling pretty confident when I offer my own brief list of what I think ISIS Actually Wants.
So, here it is:
1) ISIS wants us all to be Muslims.
2) Failing that, they want… ¿cómo se dice?… ah, yes: to “fight against us until we pay the Jizya, and feel ourselves subdued.”
3) Failing that, they want us all dead.
The rest is just commentary, I’m afraid.