The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is a terrorist militant organization seeking to establish itself as state and as a self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate. Under the ideology of Salafism, a conservative interpretation and movement of Sunni Islam, and describing its efforts as a jihad, many point to how religion is at the core of ISIS. However, many others argue that the Islamic State's primary motivations are more political, using religion as a veil to increase its legitimacy and as a recruitment strategy.
Yes, religion is the primary factor.Show moreShow less
ISIS has revolved itself as an organization and movement around an Salafist interpretation of Islam.
The Islamic State is centered around Salafism, a conservative interpretation of Sunni Islam, with its roots in Wahhabism, another conservative interpretation of Islam currently championed by the Saudi Arabian government. The modern reformist Salafi movement is critical of what it deems as misguided practices of Islam and ISIS should be interpreted as a corrective effort within Wahhabism and a violent rejection of the official Wahhabism doctrine of the Saudi state. Hence, with its former leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declaring a "caliphate" across Iraq and Syria on June 28th, 2014, ISIS seeks to establish a formal state that embodies the return to the true origins of the Saudi-Wahhab project.
The core reasons why ISIS has interpreted Saudi Arabia of straying away from traditional Wahhabism is due to its collaboration with the West. While one could argue that religion is the ultimate cause, politics is the main facilitating factor that causes ISIS to act.
[P1] Salafism and Wahhabism are interpretations of Islam.
[P2] Wahhabism is the official doctrine of the Saudi Arabian government.