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New documents show that members of ISIS don’t know squat about Islam.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Associated Press has analyzed over 3,000 questionnaires filled out by ISIS recruits. And it turns out that this supposedly fundamentalist Islamic army is full of people who don’t know anything about the religion.

Recruits were asked to rank their knowledge of Islamic law on a scale of one to three. Seventy percent had the lowest score, or only “basic” knowledge of Sharia, while 24 percent had “intermediate” knowledge, and just 5 percent were “advanced.”

Two British recruits’ knowledge of Islam consisted of their having gone on Amazon to buy Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies before they left to join ISIS. Moreover, those recruits who had been advanced students of Islam were the least likely to volunteer as suicide bombers.

Also notable is that ISIS itself denigrates the established outlets of Muslim thought, such as Al-Azhar University in Egypt. What the documents and analysis reveal is that the main driver of ISIS recruitment continues to be cultural alienation, rather than any intellectual dedication to religious doctrines. And ISIS is right there to elevate those resentments and aggressions into holy writ.