The Makings of a Caliphate

MIN READDec 14, 2016 | 09:00 GMT

A picture taken through a vehicle's bullet-riddled windshield shows Mosul after Iraqi troops retook most of the city from the Islamic State. The group's so-called caliphate looks nothing like the caliphates of old, which thrived on diversity.

(THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

The events unfolding in Syria and Iraq have nothing to do with Islam, and everything to do with the age-old quest for resources and power. Allowance for alternate forms of worship, lifestyle and religious legislation is woven into Islamic scripture and jurisprudence. Where, then, did the horrific massacres of Muslims and people of other faiths in the Islamic State's so-called caliphate come from? The multiconfessional nature of Islamic civilization is something the Islamic State does not understand. Nor does it comprehend the broad range of social and cultural expressions that historically inhabit a caliphate. But it is important to distinguish between calling for the restoration of a caliphate and the goals of the Islamic State....

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