RELIGION

Is ISIS 'Very Islamic?'

02/17/2015 03:03 pm ET | Updated Feb 17, 2015

In Graeme Woods' recent, detailed piece in The Atlantic titled "What ISIS Really Wants," the author tries to drive home this point:

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

In a HuffPost Live roundtable discussion Tuesday, members of the panel disagreed with Woods' premise.

"If you try to define a religion by what is in its text, you're already on a fool's errand," Jack Jenkins, senior religion reporter for ThinkProgress, told host Alyona Minkovski. "Religion is a community. Religion, whether it's Islam or Christianity, whether it's Hinduism, is a group of people that interpret things, whether that's text, whether that's different sorts of rituals and then move on from them.

"To say ISIS is very Islamic, even though you have scores of Islamic leaders and regular, everyday Muslims who've redefined ISIS as un-Islamic and absolutely called it as such, is denying that religious community the ability to define who they are."

Watch the rest of the HuffPost lIve conversation here.

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