IS commander Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi might take heed of the Koran’s description of him as a sinner:
“Now, there is a kind of man whose views on the life of this world may please thee greatly, and [the more so as] he cites God as witness to what is in his heart and is, moreover, exceedingly skillful in argument. But whenever he prevails, he goes about the earth spreading corruption and destroying property and progeny [even though] God does not like corruption. And whenever he is told, ‘Be conscious of God,’ his false pride drives him into [even greater] sin …” (2:204–2:206).
Al Baghdadi is not the first to twist scripture into justification for evil. He is not the first to claim singular and superior knowledge of holy texts to convince followers that they are acting in the name of a god. Most Muslims, like followers of any faith, are not experts at the underlying texts. When someone in authority quotes (falsely or not), and acts as a guide there is a tendency to believe the one who professes special knowledge. This is especially true if the speaker is an accomplished orator/writer with a clever public relations arm.
Al Baghdadi is not the first to think and act as if he is everlasting. It is unavoidable that after he has passed, in the way of Osama bin Laden and the historical chain of destructive hysterical fanatics, there will be others to be dealt with. Such is the nature of a species with an incredible breadth of thinking patterns. Totalism will continue to appear and fundamentalist thinking will continue to be a problem for civilization to deal with. With time and education this problem will diminish, but ever so slowly; as slowly as any other evolutionary change.