A campaign by ISIS, also known as Islamic State, to destroy churches across Mosul, one of the ancient seats of Christianity where the faith has been practiced for 2,000 years, complies with the teaching of the Quran, according to several analysts.
The ISIS army of Islamic terrorists has been marching across Iraq, destroying Christians and evidence of their faith for months now. ISIS is blamed for the destruction of about 45 churches in Mosul.
Robert Spencer, author and Islamic terror analyst at Jihad Watch, says the violent campaign “does seem to have been a coordinated, planned action.”
And Clare Lopez, Center for Security Policy vice president for research, said an attack on Christianity is the ultimate expression of Islam.
“ISIS is the purest expression of Islamic doctrine, law and scripture,” she said.
Lopez noted the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has a doctorate in Islamic studies.
“The leaders at least are highly educated, very sophisticated, deeply devout Muslims determined to achieve the dual objectives of Caliphate and Shariah,” Lopez said.
Spencer said the Quran actually talks about protecting churches, quoting from Sura 22:40.
The Quran passage says: “If Allah had not driven some people back by means of others, monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques, where Allah’s name is mentioned much, would have been pulled down and destroyed.”
But he said Muslim clerics “often interpret this as referring only to the churches and synagogues in which everyone became Muslim, and not to churches and synagogues of the ‘unbelievers among the People of the Book,’ according to Sura 98:6.”
Spencer said the verse refers to Jews and Christians who did not become Muslim.
“The conversion into mosques of the churches of those people is just fine, and there is abundant precedent for it in Islamic history, especially when lands are newly conquered by jihadists, as in the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Damascus and others,” Spencer said.
Mark Durie of the Center for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths, said the destruction of Christian churches would be expected under a Muslim jihad.
“The churches are symbols of idolatry … and as such are being destroyed so they will not incite idolatrous worship in people. Shiite mosques are being destroyed for the same reason, only in the case of the Shiites, they are considered to be apostates,” Durie said.
And he noted some churches apparently are being spared for use by the Islamists.
“Some are converted to mosques, after the crosses and other visible symbols of Christianity have been destroyed,” Durie said.
But he said the recent destruction of Jonah’s tomb was done as part of jihad.
“Being Christian or Jewish is irrelevant. Jonah is a Muslim prophet, too, and his tomb would have been a site for Muslim pilgrimage and devotions for more than 1,000 years. They destroy all Islamic shrines and holy places, because they consider them to incite people to idolatry. The Wahhabis did this in Saudi Arabia long time ago,” Durie said.
A former CIA station chief who asked not to be identified for security reasons agreed the ISIS decision to destroy churches is consistent with their faith.
“ISIS and all other Muslim Brotherhood groups, along with the Shiite groups like Iran and Hezbollah, are manifestations of true Islam,” he said.
“All Muslims hate Christianity and Judaism … they have to; it’s mandated in the Quran and the hadiths,” he said. “To illustrate the true Islamic nature of ISIS, one simply needs to pull descriptions of Muhammad’s actions from history and also quote what he says via the Quran and hadiths about waging war against all non-Muslims, and the use of rape, torture and terror toward non-Muslims.”
Spencer said such hatred of Christian reflects their teaching.
“Certainly their hatred is prompted by the Quran. Sura 9:30 says that those who say Jesus is the Son of God are under the curse of Allah. Suras 5:17 and 5:72 say that those who confess the divinity of Christ are unbelievers.”
Lopez said that lines up with Muslims’ determination to exercise their beliefs.
“It’s that they are determined to implement the doctrine of their faith. That doctrine is conquest to the extent possible. Any who stand in the way of that objective must die,” Lopez said.
Durie said it’s just ISIS acting as one would expect ISIS to act.
“The things being done reflect the pattern of Muhammad’s own actions, as well as subsequent Islamic jihad campaigns throughout history. For example, the way captive women are being sold matches Muhammad’s example,” he said.
“Likewise, the killing of Yazidi men, but allowing Christian men to pay the jizya to avoid being killed – this is guided by the Quran.”