By Fareed Zakaria
“[T]the aftershocks from the jihadist rupture are still reverberating. Since Mr. Baghdadi's sermon last week declaring himself caliph, al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen have denounced him. So too has the mainstream Sunni religious establishment, including Cairo's al-Azhar seminary, which has always opposed al Qaeda's actions, and Yussuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric widely seen as the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood,” writes Margaret Coker in the Wall Street Journal.
“But it is still unclear what effect, if any, such censure will have on the audience that Mr. Baghdadi has shown himself adroit at cultivating: the younger Islamist radicals, including dozens of European Muslims, who have been flocking to him.”
“The Caliphate idea also carries within it its own destruction,” writes Philip Jenkins on the Daily Beast. “Now the Caliphate is, so to speak, out of the bag, competition for the office will be intense, and violent. We can expect multiple rival Caliphs who will denounce and excommunicate each other, while factions will fight each other for the prized office. Expect many assassinations and internal coups.”
“Historically-minded Islamists might recall that back in the seventh century, three of the first four Caliphs perished by assassination. The murder of the fourth, Ali, launched the Sunni-Shia schism within Islam that is still a gaping wound 13 centuries later. It is not a happy precedent.”
“France, with its revolutionary, republican spirit of egalité, likes to think of itself as a color-blind society, steadfastly refusing, for example, to measure race, ethnicity, or religion in its censuses,” argues Alexander Still in the New Yorker. “And yet France is, undeniably, a multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multiracial society, and has been at least since the nineteen-fifties, when large waves of immigrants began arriving from its former colonies. It has significant problems of discrimination, and of racial and economic segmentation, but limited tools to measure or correct them. The obvious answer – to many American scholars and to some French ones – is to begin to gather better data.”