The real threat from ISIS is not territorial but ideological. Fighters are flocking to the fledgling caliphate because they are attracted to the notion that violence and bloodshed can create a space of totalitarian homogeneity. It’s not simply the attraction of a particular religious interpretation. ISIS offers a counter-narrative to nationalism and the emptiness of godless globalization. The society that the caliphate has created is multi-ethnic, transnational, and fully conversant in the latest technology.
The paragraph begins by stating that the threat from ISIS is ideological and not merely restricted to a particular territory. The notion of establishing a homogeneous autocracy through violence is the main attraction of ISIS, and this is not simply related to a particular religious interpretation. In fact, ISIS offers a counter narrative to transcend nationalism and the impersonal emptiness of godless globalization. To substantiate this, in the penultimate line, the paragraph reads that the society ISIS has created is diverse in terms of ethnicity and nationality. The paragraph thus mainly focuses on the dangerous attraction of ISIS ideology, and what the basis of this is. From the above it follows that the sentence that completes the paragraph has to focus on how the supporters of the said ideology identify with it despite the society created being modern, multi-ethnic and transnational. Let us consider the options in order. Option A- We may well look back at the first year of the Islamic State and wax nostalgic about how comparatively placid it was. The relatively peaceful first year of ISIS is not an idea that is related to the paragraph given. Option B - And yet it also offers a very specific, historically grounded identity. This fits neatly in with the idea of the paragraph. The penultimate line of the paragraph talks of the society the caliphate has created being a diverse mix. The specific, historically grounded identity ISIS offers helps bind this society together. Option C -However, ISIS is not a state. States are part of the world ISIS rejects. The penultimate line talks of the society of the caliphate and this option, at the outset, seems to be linked to that and the idea of ISIS not being territorial mentioned in the first line of the paragraph. However, that ISIS should not be thought of as a state- one that is concerned with governance, pensions, civil service and the like- begs further substantiation. It does not satisfactorily complete the given paragraph, which deals with what the attraction of ISIS ideology is - the power and control obtained through violence, the counter narrative to nationalism and godless globalization. The idea that ISIS is not a state and that ISIS rejects the idea of states does not develop on why ISIS ideology is effective in attracting support. Option D - It has a 100-year plan for taking over the world and imposing its own version of Islamic orthodoxy. “It” in the sentence above refers to ISIS. However, the penultimate line of the paragraph talks of the society the caliphate has created. If this option were to complete the paragraph, “it” has to refer to that society. It doesn’t. Hence, we rule out this option. Correct Answer: Choice (b)
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