In its latest video, the Islamic State portrays its vision of the end of the world culminating in an epic battle with the West waged in Rome.
The film, titled “Meeting at Dabiq,” depicts Islamist militants marching toward Rome’s Coliseum and centers on the idea of a final battle for world domination to be fought in Rome between Islamist true believers and western “crusaders.”
Reportedly filmed in Iraq, the video repeats typical Islamic State themes, such as the weakness and depravity of the West and the moral and spiritual superiority of Islamist fundamentalism. Monday morning it was revealed that an ISIS sharia judge had declared a fatwa against infants born with Down syndrome or congenital diseases, authorizing militants to kill them with religious impunity.
As it does in its recruitment material, Islamic State propagandists hold up ISIS shock troops as intrepid warriors, showing militants pouring out of armored tanks and fiercely emptying rounds from assault weapons into practice targets. The jihadists are shown training in the desert, practicing martial arts, strangling adversaries, wearing suicide vests, carrying rocket launchers, or kissing the bodies of dead Islamists in preparation for their final battle in Rome.
Saint Peter’s Basilica also figures prominently in the video as a symbol of the Christian West and the headquarters of the crusaders. The film’s narrator says that Islamist militants will demolish “crusader” sites.
“This is your last crusade, the next time it is us who will take the battle on your own land,” he says.
The Islamist’s understanding of the Crusades and crusaders has been widely debunked, most recently in a meticulously researched volume titled Five Anti-Catholic Myths: Slavery, Crusades, Inquisition, Galileo, Holocaust, by Gerard M. Verschuuren.
In his book, Verschuuren dismantles the Islamist position brick by brick, revealing how the Crusades were never about Christian conquest, but rather about the defense of pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land and retaking lands that had been seized by imperialistic Muslims.
It is revealing to note that at no point did the crusaders attack the Muslim homeland, Arabia, but only those originally Christian territories that Muslims had conquered. In other words, if we want to use war terminology, the crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars, and certainly not aimed at Muslims as such. They were a direct response to Muslim acts – in an attempt to turn back or defend lands against Muslim conquests.
The Islamic State’s version of the end of the world passes through the conquest of the rest of the West before coming to a climax in Rome. The narrator says that “revenge has started.”
“France was the beginning. Tomorrow will be Washington. It will be New York and it will be Moscow,” he declares.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome