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

Literary Journalism Explores the Why of Young Women’s Radicalization

Book review: Two Sisters, by Asne Seierstad Amazon One October day in 2013, Somali-born Norwegian sisters Ayan and Leila (pseudonyms) left a note explaining their intentions, then boarded a flight from Oslo, beginning a journey that led them to a border town in southern Turkey. From there, they crossed into Syria, choosing to live in terrorist-controlled Raqqa, marry IS fighters and have babies, and embrace … Continue reading Literary Journalism Explores the Why of Young Women’s Radicalization

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. The citizens have a brief glimmer of hope that things … Continue reading Dispatches from an Occupied Land

Story of a Family, Story of Syria

The Home That Was Our Country, by Alia Malek Journalist and civil rights lawyer Alia Malek was born in Baltimore to Syrian parents. With the memory of her beloved grandmother Salma, the matriarch of their large extended family, and Salma’s apartment in Damascus, she always felt a strong connection and pull to the country. Her parents themselves had always intended to return home, but thanks … Continue reading Story of a Family, Story of Syria

Across Land and Sea, a Teenage Refugee and Her Flight from Syria

Book review: Nujeen, by Nujeen Mustafa with Christina Lamb (Amazon / Book Depository) I fell in love with Nujeen Mustafa, like many did, when Last Week Tonight host John Oliver used BBC interview clips of the teenage Syrian refugee at a way station on the Serbian-Hungarian border as she traveled to Germany with her sister. She was so sweet and optimistic despite her unimaginably difficult journey and experiences in the … Continue reading Across Land and Sea, a Teenage Refugee and Her Flight from Syria