ISIS bases much of its recruitment and expansion strategy around the idea that the end times are upon us.
The extremist group pushes the idea that the apocalypse is nigh and that Islamic fighters will battle the "infidels" of the West in Dabiq, a town in Syria that ISIS now controls.
ISIS (also known as the Islamic State) uses Islamic scripture and prophecies to bolster its assertion, but it conveniently ignores one particularly damning prophecy that could inherently challenge the legitimacy of its self-declared "caliphate" — the territory in Iraq and Syria it controls that is central to Islamic doomsday prophecies.
Will McCants, director of the Project on US Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution, mentions the prophecy in his new book, "The ISIS Apocalypse."
"There is one prophecy about the Antichrist that the Islamic State and its fans have studiously avoided, even though it is in a collection of prophecies they revere: The Antichrist will 'appear in the empty area between Sham [Syria] and Iraq,'" McCants wrote. "That, of course, is precisely where the Islamic State is located."
As McCants explained in his book, Jesus and the Antichrist do have a place in Islamic prophecies.
"The Qur'an portrays Jesus as a messenger of God and his followers as those 'nearest in love to the believers' (5:82)," McCants wrote. "But the prophecies attributed to Muhammad outside the Qur'an foresee Jesus returning to fight alongside the Muslims against the infidels. As in the Bible, the appearance of Jesus heralds the Last Days. ...
"He will lead the Muslims in a war against the Jews, who will fight on behalf of the Antichrist."
There are other Islamic prophecies that don't jibe with ISIS' message.
ISIS extremists often repeat prophecies that state the armies of "Rome" will come to northern Syria to fight Islamic soldiers.
"We should think of Rome as the Republic of Turkey — the same republic that ended the last self-identified caliphate, 90 years ago," Graeme Wood wrote in The Atlantic earlier this year. "Other Islamic State sources suggest that Rome might mean any infidel army, and the Americans will do nicely."
The "Rome" declaration doesn't quite fit modern times if we're to think of "Rome" as Turkey or the West.
"The fact that Turkish Muslims, not infidel Romans, control Constantinople, or Istanbul, today and are working with the infidel West against the Islamic State makes the Dabiq prophecy a poor fit for contemporary events," McCants wrote.
"... But in the apocalyptic imagination, inconvenient facts rarely impede the glorious march to the end of the world."
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