Jihad and Death, the global appeal of Islamic State

Now that Islamic State has been defeated in the most prominent of its several bases it may not be a bad idea to extend our understanding of what we have just witnessed and its likely ongoing ramifications. There is something terribly modern about the jihadi terrorist violence that has unfolded in the past twenty years … Continue reading “Jihad and Death, the global appeal of Islamic State”


Flawed Counter-Terrorists

A autobiography I found of special interest in understanding how a British Muslim became radicalized and eventually de-radicalized was Radical by Maajid Nawaz. I discussed one aspect of it in the post The Conflict between Islamism and Islam. From his biography and in his online writings and talks I have read and heard since there is absolutely … Continue reading “Flawed Counter-Terrorists”


Radicalisation — whether extreme sports, cults or terrorism

Yes, time for me to finish blogging on what the research has shown about how radicalisation works, how people are recruited into terrorist organisations, religious cults, . . . even extreme sports . . .  As Jason Burke (whose works I have blogged about here, most recently on “the new threat“) points out: it’s all the … Continue reading “Radicalisation — whether extreme sports, cults or terrorism”


Something Rotten in the Lands of Islam

The survey of Muslim religiosity was carried out in Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Egypt and Turkey. It included statements on the respondents’ image of Islam. The survey listed forty-four items that examined religious beliefs, ideas and convic­tions. These statements were generated by consulting some key sociological texts on Muslim societies by authors such as … Continue reading “Something Rotten in the Lands of Islam”


New Atheists Who Want to be Nicer (and Smarter) with Religion, esp Islam!

New Atheism . . . must recognize the humanity in religion while maintaining a candid dialogue about deep-rooted conflicts between reason and faith. A matured New Atheism is needed more today than ever before . . . Those words are from New Atheist writers, Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay & Phil Torres, published in Time: How … Continue reading “New Atheists Who Want to be Nicer (and Smarter) with Religion, esp Islam!”


The Founder of Islamist Extremism and Terrorism

Nazi ideology was set out by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, Communism was explained for all by Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto, and radical Islamism was planted with Sayyid Qutb‘s Milestones. Qutb was hanged in 1966 for involvement in a plot to assassinate Egypt’s President Gamal Abdul Nasser. Qutb’s ideas appear to have been … Continue reading “The Founder of Islamist Extremism and Terrorism”


Where Religious Beliefs Come From

Previous posts in this series: Sam Harris: Wrong (again) about Religion and Radicalization Religion: It’s more than we often think Was Religion Invented to Explain Things — or to Compound Mystery? . . . Or. . . ? Since we tend to take it for granted that beliefs in spirit beings and associated myths were invented … Continue reading “Where Religious Beliefs Come From”


Was Religion Invented to Explain Things — or to Compound Mystery? . . . Or. . . ?

Thunder, earthquakes, droughts, a good harvest, the movements of the sun, moon, planets — we know that ancient people had hosts of myths to explain how all of these things “worked”. It is easy to assume that religious ideas were developed out of primitive attempts to explain these sorts of natural phenomena. Then there are … Continue reading “Was Religion Invented to Explain Things — or to Compound Mystery? . . . Or. . . ?”


“All Jihad is Local”

Some interesting research datasets relating to who joins ISIS have been published by Nate Rosenblatt. They make interesting reading alongside other research into the motivations and profiles of who are the most likely candidates for extremist radicalization. The data was supplied by an ISIS defector so of course must be assessed with that in mind. … Continue reading ““All Jihad is Local””


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?”


Islam DE-radicalized him!

Do not comment on this post unless you are prepared to stay to engage with possible alternative views and defend your own ideas in civil discourse. Angry and fly-by-nighter comments may be deleted. Studying Islam DE-radicalized him!? His deepening knowledge and understanding of Islam from the scholars turned him away from support for ISIS. I don’t know … Continue reading “Islam DE-radicalized him!”


Common Reasons for Joining ISIS and Fighting ISIS

Do not comment on this post unless you are prepared to stay to engage with possible alternative views and defend your own ideas in civil discourse. Angry and fly-by-nighter comments may be deleted. I recently read an interesting news item about a group of elite veteran volunteers fighting ISIS in Syria. It was a story by Stewart … Continue reading “Common Reasons for Joining ISIS and Fighting ISIS”


I Believe I Should but I Don’t, and Vice Versa (Do Muslims Have the Same Psychology as the Rest of Us?)

Connections between beliefs and behaviour are not routine and when they happen they require explanation. Personal experience and a passing acquaintance with a thing we call the subconscious both tell us that. I am sometimes a little taken aback by the forcefulness of some people’s claims that “of course beliefs determine what people do”. The context … Continue reading “I Believe I Should but I Don’t, and Vice Versa (Do Muslims Have the Same Psychology as the Rest of Us?)”


Historical Conditions for Popular Messianism — Christian, Muslim and Palestinian

A number of readers have questioned my own questioning of a popular belief and claim by Richard Carrier that Palestine in the early first century CE was experiencing a rash of messianism. I suggest on the contrary that evidence for popular messianism does not appear until the Jewish War in the latter half of the first century. … Continue reading “Historical Conditions for Popular Messianism — Christian, Muslim and Palestinian”