One of the main criticisms aimed at Islamic leaders today is that they have not generally attacked ISIS from a theological perspective. Young people often see in ISIS a pure Islamic theology, consistent with the Quran and untainted by modern political correctness.
Every once in a while a major religious figure attempts to say, using religious sources, that ISIS is not interpreting the Quran accurately and that they are in fact violating Quranic precepts.
Egypt has a special responsibility to make this distinction. It is still in many ways the center of Islamic thinking, and it is the most populous Arab state.
So it is important news when the Egyptian Minister of Awqaf (religious endowments) published a book meant to"refute the misguidance of terrorists" and identify and expose terrorist ideology.
Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said on a TV news show promoting the book that that terrorist groups are trying to recruit young people through false ideas and distortion of texts and purposefully misinterpreting religious texts. He says he researched and debunked theological works that ISIS (which he derogatorily calls Daesh) secretly distributes to its members . pointing out that he was able access to ideas, books and publications that terrorist groups distributed clandestinely on its elements.
He says his work refuting ISIS theology will be translated into 12 languages.
So far, so good.
But when he promoted the book on TV he also said that "the damned movement known as Daesh fools young people into thinking that paradise is in store for them them. They do like the Jews do in their seizure of land and how they killed the Palestinians under their rule - the same thing."
Apparently, theological arguments aren't enough. In order to turn people against ISIS, one must compare them to Jews.
Antisemitism is the one constant that Arabs can rely on when convincing people how evil their enemies are.