The lingering dream of an Islamic State

Across the Middle East, young Muslims belong to a generation living in countries that have stripped the very notion of citizenship of meaning. There’s no work to be had, a majority cannot afford to get married before 40, the police terrorize young people for bribes, and when they try to seek some redress in Islam-based activism, state security punishes them. It is no wonder so many young people identify as citizens of Islam, rather than whatever country whose passport they hold.

The post-Islamic State proponents of a Muslim homeland range from activists hardened by the dead-end outcome of the Arab Spring uprisings to Twitter’s group of caliphate nostalgia bros, who themselves range from staunch Islamists to history aficionados who miss the sepia-tinted grace and security that they believe caliphate rule once offered. One Twitter user, @dimashqee, for instance, argues for “an enlightened and ethical state” that would offer Muslims “social harmony” — “a polity which creates a high culture on the basis of the Arabic language and a neo-Ummayad frontier military aesthetic.”