Saudi Author Said Al-Suraihi: The Ogre of ISIS Emerged from Our History Books
In a TV interview, Saudi author and literary critic Said Al-Suraihi said that ISIS emerged from the history books, which "link the spread of Islam to the sword, the battles, the killings, and the wars." "It does not tell us how model conduct can spread Islam among people," he said in the interview, which aired on Sky News Arabia on February 12, 2016.
Following are excerpts
Interviewer: You said once that ISIS emerged from the history books. Please elaborate.
Said Al-Suraihi: Sir, let's read our history. How did Islam spread? As we know, Islam spread to the east and to the west. It spread westward through the various conquests: the battles, the commanders, the dead, the stormed cities, the burnt ships. We know every detail of this history - each and every commander and house. But tell me, do we really know how Islam spread to the east? How did it reach India, Sri Lanka, Java, the Philippines, and south China? We don't know how the forefathers of all these millions of people became Muslims.
The reason that we don't know this is that history linked the spread of Islam to the sword, the battles, the killings, and the wars. It does not tell us how model conduct can spread Islam among people. Therefore, when ISIS wanted to fight in the name of Islam, they evoked a history that links the spread of Islam with wars. We have no history to tell us how model conduct can spread Islam. We need to know how Islam entered the Malay Archipelago with no killings, no battles, no commanders, and no burnt ships.
This is absent from the religious discourse. Yes, it is absent from the religious discourse and from the history books. That is why ISIS draws upon the history books, as well as upon the extremist rulings in the books of jurisprudence. When you break ISIS down, you find extremist jurisprudence, and history linked to battles and blood. ISIS is the sum total of all the mistakes with which we failed to deal, until the ogre we call ISIS emerged.