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... Continue Reading →

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Essays on Women and Islam #WITMonth

Book review: The Caged Virgin, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Amazon / Book Depository) Any Muslim who asks critical questions about Islam is immediately branded a "deserter." A Muslim who advocates the exploration of sources for morality, in addition to those of the Prophet Muhammad, will be threatened with death, and a woman who withdraws from... Continue Reading →

The View From Tehran

Book review: I'm Writing You From Tehran, by Delphine Minoui (Amazon / Book Depository) The taxi rolls along gray lines. That's all we can make out in the darkness: gray lines, as far as the eye can see, marking out the road to the airport. Outside, beyond the window, the night devours the last forbidden... Continue Reading →

Banality Of Evil In An American Tragedy

Book review: The Brothers, by Masha Gessen (Amazon / Book Depository) This American Life is one of my all-time favorite radio shows. But since they're so prolific and have been around for so long, I'm always eons behind on episodes, so I tend to skip through the archives looking for something interesting. That's how I landed on a 2014... Continue Reading →

The Rain Began with a Single Drop

Book review: Daring to Drive, by Manal al-Sharif Book Depository It is an amazing contradiction: a society that frowns on a woman going out without a man; that forces you to use separate entrances for universities, banks, restaurants, and mosques; that divides restaurants with partitions so that unrelated males and females cannot sit together; that... Continue Reading →

Jihad, Choices, and Fearless Journalism

Book review: I Was Told to Come Alone, by Souad Mekhennet (Amazon / Book Depository) Sometimes a reporter is simply lucky enough to pick the right restaurant for tea. That's one way journalist Souad Mekhennet, a contributor to the New York Times and Washington Post, among others, and a veritable force in modern journalism, describes her experience in 2001, listening... Continue Reading →

Dispatches from an Occupied Land

Book review: The Raqqa Diaries: Escape from Islamic State, by Samer, translated by Nader Ibrahim Samer (not his real name) is a Syrian hoping to begin his studies when Assad's regime is overthrown and the Islamic State (referred to here as Daesh, another of its names) rolls into the country, taking Raqqa as a de facto capital.... Continue Reading →

When Blasphemy, Heresy and Apostasy are Necessary

Book review: Heretic, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Amazon / Book Depository) On ______, a group of ______ heavily armed, black-clad men burst into a ______ in ______, opening fire and killing a total of ______ people. The attackers were filmed shouting “Allahu akbar!” Speaking at a press conference, President ______ said: “We condemn this criminal act by... Continue Reading →

Fight like a girl

Book review: The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg (Amazon / Book Depository) "We all have to work very hard and ignore those people who say we should not be here." So says a female Afghani politician, one of the subjects of Jenny Nordberg's eye-opening narrative nonfiction account of the practice of bacha posh in Afghanistan, The... Continue Reading →

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