In recent months, ISIS strongholds in Syria and Iraq have shrunk significantly. The one thing that separated ISIS from other terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, its strongholds and Caliphate, are now in the crosshairs. With the U.S., Iraqi forces, and other rebel groups barreling in on these strongholds, ISIS leaders have urged their followers abroad to remain home and carry out the movement as independent operators. This message, combined with the knowledge of fleeing ISIS fighters back to their home country worries many European countries about increased terror.

The squeeze now being put on the last ISIS stronghold is an encouraging sign, but forcing ISIS to revert to a guerilla movement is quite a scary thought. Perhaps however, an intriguing thought is to analyze the movement as a whole through the lens of the Euthyphro question. Does Allah command an action because it is good? Or is something good because Allah demands it?

In the context of battle in Syria, and terrorist attacks in Europe and the U.S., it seems to me that ISIS views these matters through the latter of the two lenses. If one was to look through the entirety of the Qur’an, the possibility of finding a page that encourages killing innocent civilians and massacring villages based on their religion would be zero percent. However the caliphate managed to sell the vision of what ISIS would attempt to accomplish, it must have been sold with rhetoric detailing how these monstrous acts (suicide bombing, kidnapping, mass shootings) are demanded by Allah. It would take some skill, but I cannot fathom anyone on the globe being able to sell an image that suicide bombing and other terroristic acts are good in their own right.


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