Greame Wook in the ‘What ISIS Really Wants’ presents a set of arguments regarding the perception of the Islamic ideology in the American public discourse. Mainly, the author distances from the general perception of the ideology, often portrayed in the international media and presents a set of two misinterpretations that may to a questionable response from an international community.

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For instance, one of the most common features that is often misinterpreted is the fact that the jihadism is a monolithic ideology. Hence, the author claims that it would not be entirely correct to apply an understanding of the al-Qaeda structure and logic within the measures of combatting terrorism. In particular, the author emphasizes that Bin Laden viewed the terrorist measures as a starting point to the creation of caliphate. Nevertheless, the current structure of the ISIS is more complex.

The overall logic of the author is understandable as it broadens the common perception of ISIS. However, due to inaccessible information, one cannot find claim a broader interpretation of what the structure of ISIS really is. At the same time, what Graeme Wood offers is a look into the structure of al-Quaeda and the structure of the hierarchy there. The reading offers a starting point for further interpretation of the common issue while searching an understanding of the jihadist groups.

According to the author, the second factor inferred in the Islamist Ideology is the religious nature. It is believed that the role of a strong belief of the Muhammad’s preaching of Islam is the core of the ISIS ideology. Yet, Graeme Wood seeks a broader meaning of such religious nature. In particular, he claims that a dishonest campaign to undermine the religion of many Muslim believers is the key factor of looking into the Muslim ideology. What is more, the Islamist ideology not only takes the core structure of the Muslim religion but also uses political concessions for the sake of proving its religious actions. In that regard, the author presents a very accurate observation about the structure of the religious practice within the religion by claiming that jihadists wearing modern clothes and operating with the medieval religious disguise are the core of the religious center. There is a constant dissonance and dialectics in what some may see as ‘modern’ and ‘medieval’ in their practices. In particular, representatives of that religious may often sound old-fashioned and as old-fashioned conservative believers but in essence they use modern tools for delivering their messages. One of such instruments is the use of the use of messages through the visual tools where their claims are strongly jihadist.

In the article, the author poses a truly essential question. He questions the vitality of the Islamist ideology without the religious background. To a large extend, the answer to such question would be ‘no’. A high degree of the infiltration in terms of religion, psychology and legal interpretation link the ideology to the prophesy of Muhammad. Graeme Wood uses a very accurate the term ‘the Prophetic methodology’ to describe the structure of the Islamist ideology. An excessive reliance on the religious background combined with the complex structure of ideology is an integral part of the construction of Muslim ideology.

Given that the article was published in such a respected media source as ‘The Atlantic’, one can clearly conclude that there is a strong basis of arguments used by the author. Even though one cannot find all of the answers to the questions on how the ideology of ISIS was constructed, there is a complex interpretation of the core factors that have the most significant role in their organizational structure.

  • Brennan, R. The growing strategic threat of radical Islamist ideology (1st ed.).
  • Clegg, D. (2009). Isis (1st ed.). New York: Vanguard Press.
  • Manne, R. (2017). Mind Of The Islamic State (1st Ed.). [S.l.]: Prometheus.
  • Wood, G. (2017). What ISIS Really Wants. The Atlantic. Retrieved 4 March 2017, from