But official revenge will not end the escalating religious wars in the Arab region. The Islamic State has justified burning the Jordanian pilot on the basis of a Koranic verse: "If one transgresses against you, transgress ye likewise." The video released by the Islamic State to justify its reprisal included graphic images of victims burned to death by the coalition's airstrike. Grand Imam of Al-Azhar is Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb has called for avenging al-Kaseasbeh's burning alive by making reference to another Koranic verse: "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger… is execution, or crucifixion, and the cutting off hands and feet from opposite sides…"
This heavy use of Koranic verses in killings and reprisals supports Jordanian King Abdullah II's recent statement that a religious war has begun in the region. Religious wars last long and often end with clear winners — and clear losers. In the meantime, everybody seems set to seek their revenge. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told his army commanders that he will not restrain them from pursuing revenge against Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. This presents a compelling dilemma for the region — legitimate, modern governments do not push revenge but seek justice and the rule of the law.