Inside Looks at the Women of ISIS

Book review: Guest House for Young Widows, by Azadeh Moaveni (Amazon / Book Depository) She looked at the girls in the shadows of the backseat, as they drove past grain silos whose towering outlines were visible in the dark. How little they knew what awaited them. They would soon find out that the caliphate ruled by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi troubled itself little with the Prophet’s … Continue reading Inside Looks at the Women of ISIS

A “Beehive” Network for Women Escaping Islamic State #WITMonth

Book review: The Beekeeper, by Dunya Mikhail (Amazon / Book Depository) Poet Dunya Mikhail, a US resident originally from Iraq, writes in The Beekeeper about the escape stories of women from that country, fleeing the Islamic State/Daesh, made possible by the eponymous beekeeper of Sinjar province. The women were Yazidis, an ethnic minority heavily targeted by IS from a region outside of Mosul. In a place where … Continue reading A “Beehive” Network for Women Escaping Islamic State #WITMonth

A Library Provides Hope for the Soul in Syria

Book review: Syria’s Secret Library, by Mike Thomson (Amazon / Book Depository) When I first heard rumors of a secret underground library in Daraya, I thought it must surely be an exaggerated account of events. Yet over the months that followed I interviewed dozens of people there, some of whom sent me photographs, and it became clear that this really was true. Young people there … Continue reading A Library Provides Hope for the Soul in Syria

Catfishing ISIS

Book review: In the Skin of a Jihadist, by Anna Erelle (Amazon / Book Depository) When one worked on “societal” issues, it was out of passion. If only I could write about this topic in a new way, one that avoided treating individuals as part of a succession of similar cases. I wanted to investigate the roots of “digital jihadism” and get to the bottom … Continue reading Catfishing ISIS

Out of ISIS

Book review: The Girl Who Beat Isis, by Farida Khalaf with Andrea C. Hoffmann (Amazon / Book Depository) New English translation of the memoir of a young Yazidi girl’s experiences in ISIS captivity. It’s horrifying stuff, but she turns out to be more of a fighter than any of the ISIS soldiers she encounters. I was so sad that a recurring thought she had was of … Continue reading Out of ISIS