Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Back in 2015-2016 I was trying to understand the emergence and character of Islamic State and ended up purchasing and reading four books in particular that appeared to be authored by researchers whose credentials indicated that they should know what they are talking about: Cockburn, Patrick. 2015. The Rise of Islamic State: Isis and the … Continue reading “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi”

Christianity as a counter-cultural myth to delegitimize Rome

In some texts written by authors who had lost their state and been conquered by others, as may have been the case with the Yahwist, one can also see evidence of culture myths being used to delegitimize the conquering state. McCants, William F.. Founding Gods, Inventing Nations: Conquest and Culture Myths from Antiquity to Islam … Continue reading “Christianity as a counter-cultural myth to delegitimize Rome”

Two Caliphate Myths

It’s time to confront a Muslim myth that has widespread currency even among Westerners who are not favourably disposed towards the Muslim religion. And for good measure for the benefit of those readers who seem to think the historical Caliphate was the ideological precursor of Islamic State, I will toss in a second measure of … Continue reading “Two Caliphate Myths”

Is fear of Islam a healthy fear?

I have enjoyed or found profitable a recent exchange with a commenter calling him/herself pastasauceror in relation to my post, Why Petty Criminals Can Radicalize within Weeks and Kill Dozens of Innocents. As the conversation has proceeded we have found it increasingly difficult to keep our comments brief. It’s so damn hard to read walls … Continue reading “Is fear of Islam a healthy fear?”

Barack Obama and Donald Trump are both wrong about Islam

Donald Trump is certain that “Islam hates us,” as he said in an interview with CNN host Anderson Cooper and repeated in Miami’s debate. “There’s tremendous hatred.” President Obama is certain that “Islam is a religion that preaches peace.” Both men are equally wrong. Islam neither hates nor preaches — its followers do. Islam is … Continue reading “Barack Obama and Donald Trump are both wrong about Islam”

On the horrors of apocalyptic warfare

By the roots of my hair some god got hold of me. I sizzled in his blue volts like a desert prophet. — Sylvia Plath, quoted by Charles Camerson in So: How Does It Feel at World’s End?, an exploration into the eschatological lure of ISIS. Charles Cameron is blogging about a book of his … Continue reading “On the horrors of apocalyptic warfare”

The Religious Thrill and Bond of the Islamic State

There is a serious and intense poetry associated with the jihad. There are captivating a cappella chants, and the serious sharing of night time dreams that characterise the culture of the Islamic State. A deep part of the human experience common to premodern cultures but increasingly absent from ours (and whose power and meaning the … Continue reading “The Religious Thrill and Bond of the Islamic State”

ISIS is a Revolution, born in terror (like all revolutions)

A long essay by Scott Atran comparing ISIS to past revolutions to find out what is new, and what likely can and cannot be done against it. . . . ISIS is a revolution World-altering revolutions are born in danger and death, brotherhood and joy. This one must be stopped Excerpts follow — Asymmetric operations … Continue reading “ISIS is a Revolution, born in terror (like all revolutions)”

How Terrorists Convince Themselves to Kill

H/t J.M. Berger‘s intelwire.com, a new article on time.com by William McCants (author of The ISIS Apocalypse), How Terrorists Convince Themselves to Kill McCants begins Although I have studied jihadist culture for a decade, I am still astounded and dismayed by its ability to inspire individuals to take innocent life. The husband and wife team who slaughtered … Continue reading “How Terrorists Convince Themselves to Kill”

Terrorists on Status Seeking Adventures

Previous posts in this series looking at Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us by Clark McCauley and Sophia Moskalenko: 1. How Terrorists Are Made: 1 – Personal Grievance 2. How Terrorists Are Made: 2 – Group Grievance 3. Slippery Slope to Terrorism  4. Love, Relationships and Terrorism So far we have noted how one becomes a terrorist … Continue reading “Terrorists on Status Seeking Adventures”