There's a Crisis of Legitimacy within Islam, and it's fueling ISIS

Iyad el-Baghdadi’s interview with Vox is a must-read for any one who’s trying to understand ISIS and how to stop it.

First is that it’s not really about religion. It’s about the defense of religion-based identity. It’s better to look at it through the lens of nationalism rather than religion, in the sense that it’s a defense of a religiously formed identity called “Islam” or “Sunnism” or whatever; of course we call it Islam.

The second point is that ISIS cannot be defeated. It has to be replaced.

That’s why I say that a political solution has to precede the religious reform. It can’t be the other way. You truly cannot have religious reform without political reform. You cannot have religious reform under tyranny. That’s why we have to start somewhere, and that somewhere has to be democracy.

I think it would really help if the United States stopped screwing us over. By “us,” I mean the democratic reformers. United States foreign policy keeps legitimizing our oppressors, our persecutors. I mean, there’s a reason why I’m a political refugee.