By pinning responsibility for the defeat of IS on hundreds of millions of Muslims across the planet, Morgan makes the mistake of presuming that this is a war about religion.
But the religious façade is merely yet another element of IS propaganda, the mobilising ideology that provides the veneer of legitimacy for IS’s existence, violence and contempt for the rule of law.
So thin is IS’s veneer of religious motivation that French journalist Didier François, who was held hostage by IS for 10 months before his eventual release, revealed that his captors were so uninterested in religion they didn’t even have copies of the Qur’an, and never engaged in religious discussions.
“There was never really discussion about texts or – it was not a religious discussion,” François told CNN. “It was a political discussion. It was more hammering what they were believing than teaching us about the Quran. Because it has nothing to do with the Quran. They didn’t even have the Quran; they didn’t want even to give us a Quran.”
One extremist Saudi preacher, Sheikh Mani’i al-Mani’i, who last year declared on Twitter that he had joined the “land of jihad” and pledged allegiance to IS, ended up fleeing to the Saudi embassy in Turkey. IS, he told Saudi TV, promotes a religion which “is not the Islam I know.” IS may parade and enforce a self-styled system of “Shariah law”, but its roots in Islamic texts are mostly a matter of caricature: black burkas, brutal stoning and beheadings, rigid regulation of prayer, excommunication of anyone who rejects its legitimacy as an infidel deserving summary execution, and so on.