July 14th, 2014
05:57 PM ET

What I'm reading: Why Caliphate will devour its children

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.”



soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    God save France, one of the last civilized countries.
    Immigrants in France who are the most easily assimilated will prosper. I hope that the French will not aspire to the culture of their colonies.

    July 14, 2014 at 6:39 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      I feel the same way, Joey. In fact, I prefer the French language over the English since it is much more a civilized tongue than English is, On the other hand, the Tea Partiers here in America as well as other uncouth people abuse the English language and make it ugly with their widespread use of needless profanity. I hope that the Vietnamese still speak French as their second language as I would like to vacation there someday.

      July 15, 2014 at 10:52 am |
  2. Charles Hagwood

    Population of Gaza =1,657,000

    Length of Israeli Hamas conflict= 7 days

    Number of civilian casualties =130

    Number of deaths per capita per day=130/(1657000 X 7) = 11.2079 per million per day

    Population of Syria 22,530,746

    Length of Syrian Civil War = 365 X 3

    Number of civilian casualties =50000

    Number of civilian casualties per capita =50000/(22530746 X 365 X 3) =2.0266 per million per day.

    The civilian deaths by Israel is 5 times higher than that by Assad.

    I don't know what the acceptable UN rate is.

    July 14, 2014 at 7:49 pm |
    • someone else

      The length of the conflict between Hamas and Israel is since Hamas adopted a charter of the destruction of Israel. That was the declaration of war. Measure the casualties per day since then.

      July 15, 2014 at 10:12 am |
    • Aristotles

      Per-capita normalization of war casualties is an obscenity. Your math skills are an abomination. You can't count to 13 with your pants zipped.

      July 15, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
  3. sandstorm

    the caliphate will rise and it will be built on the bones of jewish children soon all jews all over the world will boil in flames.

    July 14, 2014 at 8:05 pm |
  4. Ferhat Balkan

    Unfortunately these groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda who want to go back to the Islamic caliphate are doing everything wrong. To understand the success behind the Islamic caliphate, one must look at it's history and driving force behind it. For example, the Abbasid Caliphate which was one of the longest running caliphates in Islamic history and was very successful during it's hayday (year 750-1258). This was considered to be the golden era of Islam. The Abbasid caliphate was the most powerful force in the world. This is why ISIS and all these extremist groups want to go back to the caliphate, because they suffered all these losses after WW1 and all the promises by the French, British turned out to be false. So now they're all looking for ways to go back to what was once considered the greatest power on Earth (much like the US is today). The Abbasid society thrived on multiculturalism, science, innovation and learning culture. And that ladies and gentlemen, is how you become a world regional power. Baghdad was called the "Baghdad house of Wisdom" during those days. Scholars from around the world would go there to study modern art, literature, science, astronomy etc. They were more modern than Europe at the time which was the secret behind their success. That's history. The modern scientific method was invented there. It was the Islamic Caliphate that helped the Jews during the Spanish Inquisition (Ottomans) one example of multiculturalism. So when you look at ISIS, al-Qaeda etc. you can clearly see how wrong they are and the wrong approach they take in bringing about a change that they want. You don't bring about positive change to society by starting wars, killing innocents, attacking/kidnapping school children and declaring Jihad. You do that with education, science and moderate outlook. If they want to bring the Islamic caliphate back, they'll have to read up on history and see how the real caliphate was. What they're doing now is not the true Islamic caliphate of the past.

    July 14, 2014 at 10:29 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      If the Abbasid Caliphate was "the greatest power on earth," that power was military at least as much as it was based on multiculturalism.
      The USA would commit a terrible error by abandoning its military power, as many writers advocate in this forum.
      The Abbasid Caliphate displayed its great wisdom socially by the pursuit of increasingly greater knowledge, not by the lowering of standards to leave no child behind.

      July 15, 2014 at 3:50 am |
  5. Towel Heads

    Towel Heads is what Towel Heads do.

    July 15, 2014 at 10:03 am |
  6. chri§§y

    I seriously doubt our standards have been lowered by leaving no child behind!!!! Children are our future!

    July 15, 2014 at 10:28 am |
    • rascal262

      No Child Left Behind means No Child Gets To Advance Until Everyone's Caught Up, which never happens.

      July 15, 2014 at 11:21 am |
  7. chri§§y

    That is NOT what it means!!! It means EVERY child will be given the opportunity no matter how much money their parents have!!! Even rich people have children without a lot of smarts!

    July 15, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      @ chrissy,
      I do not advocate leaving children behind because they are poor.
      I say, leave them behind if they do not learn.

      July 15, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        Every child is already given the same chance. The material is presented, and children can either learn it or focus on other interests, or do drugs, or sleep, or text with Selfies.
        No child is denied access to what he should learn. He can take it or leave it.

        July 15, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
      • chocopoppy

        Exactly. No amount of coddling will overcome the lack of morals, discipline, and caring that should be occurring within the home. One of the most ridiculous fantasies of liberals (and there are many) is that we can coddle, feed at taxpayer expense, attempt to educate, counsel, & make excuses for disadvantaged children and yet abstain from making any demands or moral judgments on their parents.

        July 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
  8. j. von hettlingen

    The Islamic State is a totalitarian "state" under the banner of Islam. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is Middle East's modern day Joseph Stalin!

    July 15, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
  9. chri§§y

    So @ Joey are you now saying that what you said in your post yesterday is NOT what you meant? When you said we lowered our standards by leaving no child behind.

    July 15, 2014 at 6:45 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      I have not contradicted myself or changed my mind. Leave my words in the order in which I wrote them.
      I can say it another way:
      "No Child Left Behind" is a bad idea.
      A child who fails to keep up with the main body of the class should be given an "F" and allowed to repeat the year. For example. 2 or 3 years in the 3rd grade.
      I have to return a business call now. I'll come back to this later.
      Not every child is capable of earning a doctorate.
      I meet people with recent doctorates and discern that they know much less than we did as high school graduates in 1956.
      Fail them, if they fail.

      July 15, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
  10. chri§§y

    No not every child is capable and for any number of reasons. Some are dyslexic or adhd. Lots of reasons so no giving them an "F" is NOT the answer! Sometimes they need special help and that was the concept behind "the no child left behind!" Expectation leads to disappointment, especially if you are expecting PERFECTION!

    July 15, 2014 at 9:01 pm |
  11. chri§§y

    And @ Joey i KNOW how to read...i read your post from 3:50 am yesterday several times and i did NOT change the order of your words! You said what you said and i dont see how i could take it any different than how it was written.

    July 15, 2014 at 9:05 pm |
  12. chri§§y

    And im sorry i wasnt around in 56 so i dont know how it was then.

    July 15, 2014 at 9:08 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      @ chrissy: I am not even talking about children with learning disabilities. Those are entirely different. One does not expect them to pass normal classwork.
      What I am discussing is average children. They are passed from grade to grade and finally given HS diplomas. Many can barely read, and only the best speak English well. To expect them to master French, as my troll has, is folly.
      In cities like New York, many schools teach almost nothing, yet pupils get diplomas. What does a doctorate mean after that, given the same way? Nothing.
      There is only one problem with our school system: when the responsibility for learning was removed from the student and placed anywhere else, the system collapsed.
      Of course, when you said "poor" student, I thought you meant financially poor. We hear much about that excuse for failure.
      I did not realize that you meant a student who is "poor" because he does not study, or because he is learning disabled. Of course, standards vary there.
      It has become a popular trick to indicate my age (75), with the implication that my opinions might be rendered irrelevant because of that.
      So, since you wouldn't know, I'll tell you what we did in 1950s public schools: we were responsible for our own failures, we studied a lot, and we learned a lot. That does not happen very much today.

      July 15, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
  13. chri§§y

    Wow! It has been along time since you've been in a school. The types of children i mentioned previously are NOT segregated from other children their age at all Joey! Most times they just get moved along grade to grade with no one ever taking the time to realise they even have problems! Especially when there have been so many cuts in education that whole school districts have shut down in my state! The city i live in with 20 plus thousand people and not even one school...thats unacceptable to me!!! And who ends up suffering? The children who have had no hand in the errors! And i was NOT making fun of your age! I was born in 57 was all i meant.

    July 15, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      i know several very successful men and women, my age, who are dyslexic. They attended regular public and private schools,
      I'm sorry that you have no school in your city, and I agree that it is unacceptable.

      July 15, 2014 at 10:54 pm |
  14. chri§§y

    And for the record we did the same in the 60s and later! If we didnt it wasnt a surprise to get our butts tanned for sure! But over the course of time parents have become afraid to correct their children in fear of losing them due to government interference, and now we are left with alot of disrespectful kids. Because they CAN be, whos going to show them they cant? All that aside we still have alot of kids with learning disabilities that most people just ignore!

    July 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
  15. chri§§y

    Ty @ Joey. I know several people that are as well and many of them do just fine because they were noticed and were taught differently they are productive adults. I dont know why there are so many kids now that cant read and if its because teachers used to have less students maybe, or maybe cared more i dont know i just know that in this age it shouldnt be so many! I think ive told you before that my grandmother was a teacher for 42 years in Detroit? And i remember her helping kids after school many times in her own home even. She had 14 kids of her own and they all say there was always extra kids at their house and she was helping them with reading or math or whatever. Sad we have so many kids today that just go grade to grade and no one notices they cant even read their diploma!

    July 15, 2014 at 11:50 pm |
  16. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    My father was a school superintendent. Our separate school district was often called the best in the state.
    I am sure that, even though teachers don't know much today either, pupils don't learn because they don't have to accept sole responsibility for learning, and they are not threatened with the possibility of starvation or a lifetime of degrading, low-paying labor if they do not learn.
    If I didn't have a teacher's help with an interest outside the school's offered courses, I taught it to myself or wrote away for expert help by correspondence. I borrowed materials for a college extension course and learned the information in high school, free.
    Pupils would learn if they knew that they had to learn or not eat when they left home.

    July 16, 2014 at 6:46 am |
  17. chri§§y

    I dont think the changes made as to how parents can or cannot correct their children is attached to any party! I know many liberals who are extremely frustrated with their inability to correct their children without threats of "child abuse". And so many things are considered abuse these days that are just ridiculous. You cant even do a stand in the corner punishment without those ever present threats!

    July 16, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
  18. chri§§y

    And i would much rather my taxes fund a disadvantaged child in this country than pay ungodly amounts to fund foreign countries militarys so they can kill innocent people!!!!

    July 16, 2014 at 5:51 pm |

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