“Rome” is a target for ISIS. What that means, we aren’t sure. It seems to be code for “Christians”, the lands which once comprised Christendom. It also probably means Rome itself.
From the Catholic Herald:
After beheading Coptic Christians, Islamists say they will ‘conquer Rome’ next
Islamist militants claiming loyalty to ISIS have released a video appearing to show the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians who were taken hostage in Libya several weeks ago.
The video shows men apparently being beheaded after being forced to kneel next to the Mediterranean Sea. A militant says they are sending a message “from the south of Rome”. At the end of the footage the same English-speaking fighter raises his knife to the water and says ISIS would “conquer Rome”.
This morning Egypt and the Libyan government said they had launched air strikes in retaliation against Islamic State targets.
Egypt said the strikes were intended “to avenge the bloodshed and to seek retribution from the killers”, adding: “Let those far and near know that Egyptians have a shield that protects them.” Most of the victims are believed to be Egyptian.
Bishop Angaelos, leader of the Coptic Orthodox church in Britain, said the massacre showed “not only a disregard for life but a gross misunderstanding of its sanctity and equal value in every person”.
He said his prayers were with the victims’ families and also with the militants who carried out the atrocity. “We pray for an end to the dehumanisation of captives who become mere commodities to be bartered, traded and negotiated with,” the bishop said.
In the video released by the militants, an Islamist says in English: “All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes, especially if you are fighting us all together. Therefore we will fight you all together… The sea you have hidden Sheikh Usama Bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.”
I am reading right now The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis by Robert R. Reilly, the same guy who wrote the must read Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything.
There was once a thriving Muslim, Islamic intellectual tradition. Then it was simply snuffed out. What happened? And does what happened explain something of what is going on today?
Here are a couple passages from the book. I looked in the body of the book to find some pithy moments, but I found that the book is so closely argued that you need, in almost every instance, the previous paragraph as well. So, here is something from the forward:
There are two fundamental ways to close the mind. One is to deny reason’s capability of knowing anything. The other is to dismiss reality as unknowable. Reason cannot know, or there is nothing to be known. Either approach suffices in making reality irrelevant. In Sunni Islam, elements of both were employed in the Ash‘arite school. As a consequence, a fissure opened between man’s reason and reality—and, most importantly, between man’s reason and God. The fatal disconnect between the Creator and the mind of his creature is the source of Sunni Islam’s most profound woes. This bifurcation, located not in the Qur’an but in early Islamic theology, ultimately led to the closing of the Muslim mind.
The closure of the Muslim mind has created the crisis of which modern Islamist terrorism is only one manifestation. The problem is much broader and deeper. It enfolds Islam’s loss of science and of the prospect of indigenously developing democratic constitutional government. It is the key to unlocking such puzzles as why the Arab world stands near the bottom of every measure of human development; why scientific inquiry is nearly moribund in the Islamic world; why Spain translates more books in a single year than the entire Arab world has in the past thousand years; why some people in Saudi Arabia still refuse to believe man has been to the moon; and why some Muslim media present natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina as God’s direct retribution. Without understanding this story, we cannot grasp what is taking place in the Islamic world today, or the potential paths to recovery—paths many Muslims are pointing to with their rejection of the idea of God that produced this crisis in the first place. The closing of the Muslim mind is the direct if somewhat distant antecedent of today’s radical Islamist ideology, and this ideology cannot be understood without divining its roots in that closing. The ideas animating terrorist acts from September 11, to the bombings in London, Madrid, and Mumbai, to the attempted airline bombing in Detroit on Christmas 2009, and beyond have been loudly proclaimed by their perpetrators and their many sympathizers in every form of media. We know what they think; they tell us every day. But questions arise concerning the provenance of their ideas, which they claim are Islamic. Are they something new or a resurgence of something from the past? How much of this is Islam and how much is Islamism? Is Islamism a deformation of Islam? If so, in what way and from where has it come? And why is Islam susceptible to this kind of deformation? The latter part of the book will address these questions.
Note the term “Islamism”.