How does Islamic State justify its atrocities in name of Islam?

by Hannah Allam,  McClatchy DC

Muslims across the globe have condemned the Islamic State’s blood lust, calling the extremist group’s tactics forbidden under Islam and an affront to humanity. So how do zealots claiming to represent a pure and true Islam square their actions with traditional Islamic law?

They cherry-pick Quranic verses out of context, apply the most rigid interpretations of jurisprudence and excuse just about any brutality by saying they’re waging a defensive jihad on behalf of aggrieved Muslims worldwide, according to Jocelyne Cesari, a renowned scholar of Islam who’s part of Secretary of State John Kerry’s working group on faith and foreign policy.

Cesari directs the “ Islam in the West” program at Harvard University and leads the Berkley Center’s Islam and World Politics program at Georgetown University. Here, in remarks that have been edited for clarity or space, she explains how the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, distorts traditional teachings to justify actions that have shocked the world. Read the entire story.

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