…. Yet however cutting-edge the production of the magazine may be, many of its features have a decidedly antique flavour. This, in a magazine devoted to the thesis that the ideal state existed back in early 7th-century Arabia, is hardly surprising. As revolutionaries, the propagandists of Isis are simultaneously radical and conservative, cleaving to a vision of global apocalypse that is founded on their understanding of the age of Muhammad.
The very name they have given their magazine bears witness to their consuming ambition: to head back to the future. Dabiq is a town in northern Syria currently occupied by Isis — and according to a prophecy supposedly made by Muhammad, the End of Days will be heralded by a great battle fought there between Muslim and Christian armies. This is why, on the masthead of every edition, the same message is proclaimed. “The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify — by Allah’s permission — until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq.”
…. The threat this represents to the Christians of the Middle East, already in the eye of the storm, is all too obvious. No one should doubt, though, in the wake of the murder last month of a French priest as he was celebrating mass, that the churches of Europe are also being targeted. The Catholic hierarchy, in the wake of Father Hamel’s murder, have understandably sought to play down the religious motivation of his killers. No one who reads the most recent edition Dabiq, though, can really doubt it. Christians everywhere should consider themselves warned. [Tom Holland, 136 comments]
[TOP RATED COMMENT 147 votes] I am very glad this article has appeared in The Times. It has astonished me how little interest or compassion has been shown to the Christian communities of the middle east and Egypt.
[2ND 134] The ‘people of the book’ thing itself is not tolerance as we understand it. It suggests that you live under sufferance of someone else, that your humanity is defined and ‘allowed’ only because you accept your secondary status. It seems more like a protection racket. If Muslims had to pay a tax just to live in peace and continue their existence it would be seen as unfair and sinister. If this is the best hope for tolerance within Islam, there is little hope.
[3RD 89] Time we stopped taking Muslim ‘migrants’ and instead take Syrian Christians? [The Times (£)] Read more