Graeme Wood on the “Strangers” of the Islamic State

Book review: The Way of the Strangers, by Graeme Wood (Amazon / Book Depository) "Islam began as something strange and it will return to being strange, so blessed are the strangers." -- Sahih Muslim It's difficult to understand much about the extremist ideology of terrorist groups like ISIS, not least because your average non-Muslim doesn't... Continue Reading →

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 →

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... 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 →

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... Continue Reading →

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