In order to answer this question, we need to look at some passages showing the history of Ishmael and his descendants. We will be quoting from the New King James Version of the Bible.

*Genesis 16:2, 4, 11-12: “Sarai said to Abram…go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived….And the Angel of the LORD said to her: ‘Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael…He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.” We learn here that Ishmael would be a “wild man” and in conflict with “every man.” He and his descendants would be “warlike nomads.”

*Genesis 21:8-10, 17-18, 20-21: “So the child grew…and Sarah saw the son of Hagar…scoffing…she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this bondwoman and her son’…Then the angel of God called to Hagar…’Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation’…he grew and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. He dwelt in the Wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.” God promises Hagar that He would make Ismael “a great nation” and he eventually dwelt in the Sinai Peninsula where he married an Egyptian woman.

*Genesis 25:12-13: “Now this is the genealogy of Ishmael…and these were the names of the sons of Ishmael…the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; then Kedar…” Ishmael’s wife bore him TWELVE SONS but it was “Kedar” whose sons migrated to northern Arabia and were known as the “Kedarites.” Kedar and his tribe are referred to quite often in Scripture (see Song of Songs 1:5; Isaiah 21:16-17; 42:11; 60:7; Jeremiah 2:10; 49:28-33). I would especially draw your attention to Ezekiel 27:21, “Arabia and all the princes of Kedar were your regular merchants.”

According to tradition, Kedar was also the ancestor of the Quraysh tribe, of which the Islamic prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca around the year 570. Muhammad supposedly received “divine revelations” through the angel Gabriel which later formed the Quran (i.e. Koran), the Islamic “holy scriptures.” His messages were met with resistance and he and his followers resorted to armed conflict to spread his message of an “Islamic Society.” They literally gained multitudes of converts by wielding the sword. This was indeed the beginning of “Muslim extremists,” so we can surely conclude that Ishmael is the ancestor of Muslim extremism.

Before we close this meditation, two things should be noted. First of all, we use the phrase “Muslim extremism” as if the religion of Islam is a “peaceful religion” that has been hijacked by fanatical extremists. But the truth is the core message of the Koran teaches “Jihad” (which means “holy war”) against all “infidels” (all who refuse to submit to Allah and the message of the Koran). Groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda are taking the Koran literally and seeking to establish the “Islamic Society” (also known as “caliphate”) worldwide. Secondly, those who practice Islam and are known for using terrorism in their battle for the minds and hearts of men, are not limited to Arabs, for there are many from other nations who follow the teaching of Muhammad and the Koran. Also, not all Arabs are Muslim; in fact, there are many “Christian Arabs.” So we need to make these distinctions and avoid broad-sweeping stereotypes. (290.7) (DO)