Summary of movement
The origins of the Islamic State – also known more widely as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – can be traced back to the US-led military invasion of Iraq in 2003. Its original incarnation, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), grew within a milieu of ideologically diverse militant groups that opposed the US and the post-2003 US-backed Iraqi administration. Like many other militant Muslim groups, often generalised as ‘jihadist’, the Islamic State rejects existing notions of the nation-state in favour of what it defines as the ultimate Islamic polity – the caliphate. What distinguishes the Islamic state from these other groups, alongside its unprecedented use of violence, is its claim to have already established this caliphate. The Islamic State is therefore a religiously motivated, insurrectionary movement that also behaves like a state, with its own bureaucracy, geographical territory, economy and population. Underlining its military strategy and state-building ambitions, however, is a distinctive brand of Islamic apocalypticism.
The full text of this article has been moved to CenSAMM's open access Critical Dictionary of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements.
It is available at: https://www.cdamm.org/articles/isis