It is reported by the Pentagon that there is a “high degree of certainty” that the Islamic State serial beheader Mohammed Emwazi – aka Jihadi John – has been killed by a drone strike near Raqqa in Syria. The civilised world rejoices. Bleeding heart liberals bemoan another extra-judicial killing, after the fashion of Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin, which amounts to state-sponsored murder.
Good riddance. Mohammed Emwazi brandished his scythe behind US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, and aid worker Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig. He also beheaded British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto. No doubt there were many others. And now Mohammed Emwazi is communing with his prophet namesake in the afterlife, sitting at the feet of his spiritual director and learning the true meaning of ideological jihad.
But let us remember that killing individual jihadi operatives, however senior in militancy or notorious in evil deeds, does not snuff out the spiritual fons et origo of Islamic extremism: the death of Osama bin Laden did not put an end to al-Qaeda. Indeed, since September 11th 2001, his estimated 300 militant jihadis have mushroomed to a mighty platoon of some 31,000. You can’t defeat theo-political extremism by beheading the odd squadron of extremists: there is always someone to step up to honour the murderous creed of Salafi-jihadism. It is the principle of tawhid – one god in one one state – in the service of the ummah, the brotherhood of believers. If you believe the calling to be noble and virtuous, following in the literal footsteps of Mohammed, after the historical fashion of Saladin, you are an ally of Allah and your salvation is assured at the End of Days.
The death of Jihadi John is an ephemeral, trivial, inconsequential moment of Western media noise. The quest for the Caliphate continues: the universal Islamic State arises. The objective is the eradication of the Great Satan and the end of humiliation. The means are barbarism, torture and death. Jihadi John was a cultic controller who will now be hailed as a martyr. The death cult of Salfism still propagates its predestined apocalypse, calling more and more Muslims to witness to the victory of Allah and the love of death in glory. The Islamic State knows the path of honour; the path of their prophet.
The spark has been lit. The fires burn. The heat will intensify. Only when the Crusader kuffar are shamed in defeat by the armies of Allah will this jihad come to an end. The battle will be bitter, but be patient. Jihadi John has fought the good fight. It is now for the Crusaders to bleed to death.