As the savage attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS) seem to follow on one another at an ever-increasing pace, too many still do not understand what this group is, where it came from, who its leaders are, and most important of all, why they do what they do. Whether the IS-controlled territory called “The Caliphate” survives in its current form or not, the totalitarian ideology Islamic supremacists call Sharia and the jihad it impels will cause adherent fighters, followers and supporters around the world to fight on and, unless decisively defeated, to continue to metastasize.
In the absence of such a defeat, the Islamic State continues to add new groups to its growing franchise. And individual jihadists from nearly every continent continue to step forward to pledge allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as they carry out murderous attacks on innocent civilians. Unfortunately, too many at the top levels of U.S. national security, the media, academia and other elites still fail to understand this enemy, typically approaching it as a mere “terrorist organization” or purveyor of “violent extremism.” In particular, unless and until there is a much better appreciation for the phenomenon that is spawning and intensifying Islamic supremacism as practiced by IS, Americans and other freedom-loving peoples will be in mortal peril.