Last June Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became caliph, the political and religious leader of the caliphate, which is the territory controlled by the Islamic State. (ISIL is the only Muslim entity, however, that recognizes his authority and the caliphate.) One of the primary duties of the caliph is to expand the caliphate continuously, thereby also increasing the number of Muslims who adhere to the fundamentalist brand of Islam championed by ISIL. Al-Baghdadi delivered a sermon on July 5, and jihadists in unprecedented numbers flocked to the Islamic State from France, the U.K., Belgium, Germany, Holland, Australia, Indonesia, the United States— all over the world. The surge hasn’t diminished.
Believing that none of the various divisions of Islam practiced today retains the purity of Islam in the seventh century, the Islamic State attempts to follow the prophecy and example of the Prophet to the letter. (Muhammad was inspired by the voice of God, who dictated to him the Qur’an, which is the holy text of Islam.) As a caliphate, ISIL performs the usual responsibilities of a state. Within its sphere of influence, it “collects taxes, regulates prices, operates courts, and administers services ranging from health care and education to telecommunications,” writes Graeme Wood in the Atlantic. Moreover, “health care is free.”
If this is true, how is it that the murderous and exceedingly violent Islamic State offers health care, let alone free health care? How to reconcile that with the fact that the United States has just begun to offer health care — subsidized, but not free — and against the vehement opposition of the party that is now in the majority?
Anjou Choudary is a strong advocate of the Islamic State. “This provision of social welfare was not, [Choudary] said, a policy choice of the Islamic State, but a policy obligation inherent in God’s law.”
ISIL, which revels in beheadings and immolations, nevertheless understands the moral imperative to provide healthcare to its citizens, even as he also says that “crucifixion and beheading are sacred requirements.”