The Way of the Strangers

Author: Graeme Wood
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780812988758
Release Date: 2017
Genre: History

"The Way of the Strangers is an intimate journey into the minds of the Islamic State's true believers. From the streets of Cairo to the mosques of London, Wood interviews supporters, recruiters, and sympathizers of the group...Wood speaks with non-Islamic State Muslim scholars and jihadists, and explores the group's idiosyncratic, coherent approach to Islam...Through character study and analysis, Wood provides a clear-eyed look at a movement that has inspired so many people to abandon or uproot their families.

The Way of the Strangers

Author: Graeme Wood
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 9780812988765
Release Date: 2016-12-20
Genre: Political Science

The author of the explosive Atlantic cover story “What ISIS Really Wants” has written the definitive, electrifying account of the strategy, psychology, and theology driving the Islamic State. Tens of thousands of men and women have left comfortable, privileged lives to join the Islamic State and kill for it. To them, its violence is beautiful and holy, and the caliphate a fulfillment of prophecy and the only place on earth where they can live and die as Muslims. The Way of the Strangers is an intimate journey into the minds of the Islamic State’s true believers. From the streets of Cairo to the mosques of London, Graeme Wood interviews supporters, recruiters, and sympathizers of the group. We meet an Egyptian tailor who once made bespoke suits for Paul Newman and now wants to live, finally, under Shariah; a Japanese convert who believes that the eradication of borders—one of the Islamic State’s proudest achievements—is a religious imperative; and a charming, garrulous Australian preacher who translates the group’s sermons and threats into English and is accused of recruiting for the organization. We also learn about a prodigy of Islamic rhetoric, now stripped of the citizenship of the nation of his birth and determined to see it drenched in blood. Wood speaks with non–Islamic State Muslim scholars and jihadists, and explores the group’s idiosyncratic, coherent approach to Islam. The Islamic State is bent on murder and apocalypse, but its followers find meaning and fellowship in its utopian dream. Its first caliph, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, has declared that he is the sole legitimate authority for Muslims worldwide. The theology, law, and emotional appeal of the Islamic State are key to understanding it—and predicting what its followers will do next. Through character study and analysis, Wood provides a clear-eyed look at a movement that has inspired so many people to abandon or uproot their families. Many seek death—and they will be the terror threat of the next decade, as they strike back against the countries fighting their caliphate. Just as Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower informed our understanding of Al Qaida, Graeme Wood’s The Way of the Strangers will shape how we see a new generation of terrorists. Praise for The Way of the Strangers “Readers are taken on a global journey to meet the frothing fans of ISIS. . . . Wood wants to know these people, to get in their skin, to understand how they see the world. Unlike most journalists writing about Islam today, there is no partisan axe to grind here, no hidden agenda to subtly advance.”—New Republic “The best way to defeat the Islamic State is to understand it. And to do that, the best place to start is [The Way of the Strangers]. . . . A series of gripping, fascinating portraits. . . . Wood has the talented journalist’s skill for interview and observation. He’s an astute psychologist and a good writer to boot. . . . It’s a great read. But more importantly, Wood’s book reveals truths about ISIS that are hiding in plain sight—but that our leaders make themselves willfully ignorant of. They ought to read his book, too.”—The Week “[Graeme Wood] shows, convincingly, that the stifling and abhorrent practices of the Islamic State are rooted in Islam itself—not mainstream Islam, but in scriptures and practices that have persisted for centuries. . . . The Islamic State, such as it is, is a dangerous place, and Wood’s book amounts to a tour around its far edges.”—Dexter Filkins, The New York Times Book Review

The Way of the Strangers

Author: Graeme Wood
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 9780241240120
Release Date: 2016-12-20
Genre: Political Science

A radical rethinking of what ISIS is and what it really wants From Graeme Wood, author of the explosive Atlantic cover story "What ISIS Really Wants," comes the definitive book on the history, psychology, character, and aims of the Islamic State. Based on Wood's unprecedented access to supporters, recruiters, and high-ranking members of the most infamous jihadist group in the world, The Way of the Strangers is a riveting, fast-paced deep dive into the apocalyptic dogma that informs the group's worldview, from the ideas that motivate it, to the "fatwa factory" that produces its laws, to its very specific plans for the future. By accepting that ISIS truly believes the end is nigh, we can understand its strategy-and predict what it will do next.

The Master Plan

Author: Brian H. Fishman
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300224535
Release Date: 2016-11-22
Genre: History

An incisive narrative history of the Islamic State, from the 2005 master plan to reestablish the Caliphate to its quest for Final Victory in 2020 Given how quickly its operations have achieved global impact, it may seem that the Islamic State materialized suddenly. In fact, al-Qaeda’s operations chief, Sayf al-Adl, devised a seven-stage plan for jihadis to conquer the world by 2020 that included reestablishing the Caliphate in Syria between 2013 and 2016. Despite a massive schism between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, al-Adl’s plan has proved remarkably prescient. In summer 2014, ISIS declared itself the Caliphate after capturing Mosul, Iraq—part of stage five in al-Adl’s plan. Drawing on large troves of recently declassified documents captured from the Islamic State and its predecessors, counterterrorism expert Brian Fishman tells the story of this organization’s complex and largely hidden past—and what the master plan suggests about its future. Only by understanding the Islamic State’s full history—and the strategy that drove it—can we understand the contradictions that may ultimately tear it apart.

Salafi Jihadism

Author: Shiraz Maher
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190694722
Release Date: 2016-11-01
Genre: Political Science

No topic has captured the public imagination of late quite so dramatically as the specter of global jihadism. While much has been said about the way jihadists behave, their ideology remains poorly understood. As the Levant has imploded and millenarian radicals claim to have revived a Caliphate based on the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, the need for a nuanced and accurate understanding of jihadist beliefs has never been greater. Shiraz Maher charts the intellectual underpinnings of salafi-jihadism from its origins in the mountains of the Hindu Kush to the jihadist insurgencies of the 1990s and the 9/11 wars. What emerges is the story of a pragmatic but resilient warrior doctrine that often struggles - as so many utopian ideologies do - to consolidate the idealism of theory with the reality of practice. His ground-breaking introduction to salafi-jihadism recalibrates our understanding of the ideas underpinning one of the most destructive political philosophies of our time by assessing classical works from Islamic antiquity alongside those of contemporary ideologues. Packed with refreshing and provocative insights, Maher explains how war and insecurity engendered one of the most significant socio-religious movements of the modern era.

Jihad and Death

Author: Roy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9781787380554
Release Date: 2017-04-06
Genre: Political Science

How has ISIS been able to muster support far beyond its initial constituency in the Arab world and attract tens of thousands of foreign volunteers, including converts to Islam, and seemingly countless supporters online? In this compelling intervention into the debate about ISIS’ origins and future prospects, the renowned French sociologist, Olivier Roy, argues that while terrorism and jihadism are familiar phenomena, the deliberate pursuit of death has produced a new kind of radical violence. In other words, we’re facing not a radicalization of Islam, but the Islamization of radicalism. Jihad and Death is a concise dissection of the highly sophisticated narrative mobilised by ISIS: the myth of the Caliphate recast into a modern story of heroism and nihilism. According to Roy, this very contemporary aesthetic of violence is less rooted in the history of Islamic thought than it is entrenched in a youth culture that has turned global and violent.

Ordaining Women

Author: Mark Chaves
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674641469
Release Date: 1999-03
Genre: Religion

Why does a denomination prohibiting women clergy support parishes run by women? Why does a denomination opt to ordain women when there are few women seeking to join that clergy? And why have some denominations ordained women so much earlier than others? In a revealing examination of the complex relationship among religion, social forces, and organizational structure, Ordaining Women draws examples and data from over 100 Christian denominations to explore the meaning of institutional rules about women's ordination. Combining historical and sociological perspectives, Mark Chaves deftly shows that formal institutional rules about ordination often diverge from the actual roles of women and are best understood as symbolic gestures in favor of--or in opposition to--gender equality. Ordaining Women concludes that external pressures from the women's movement and ecumenical pressure expressed through interdenominational organizations such as the National Council of Churches influence ordination practices. At the same time, internal factors such as having a source of religious authority that is considered superior to modern principles of equal rights also explain why some denominations ordain women much earlier than others. Surprisingly, "the Bible forbids it" does not account for policies even among fundamentalists and other biblical inerrantists. Chaves' historical and comparative approach offers a revealing analysis of how the internal denominational debates have changed over time, becoming more frequent, more politicized, and more contentious. The skillful delineation of forces affecting debates and policies about women's ordination makes this book an important contribution to our understanding of religious organizations and of gender equality.

Brothers and Strangers

Author: Steven E. Aschheim
Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Press
ISBN: 9780299091132
Release Date: 1982-10-15
Genre: History

Brothers and Strangers traces the history of German Jewish attitudes, policies, and stereotypical images toward Eastern European Jews, demonstrating the ways in which the historic rupture between Eastern and Western Jewry developed as a function of modernism and its imperatives. By the 1880s, most German Jews had inherited and used such negative images to symbolize rejection of their own ghetto past and to emphasize the contrast between modern “enlightened” Jewry and its “half-Asian” counterpart. Moreover, stereotypes of the ghetto and the Eastern Jew figured prominently in the growth and disposition of German anti-Semitism. Not everyone shared these negative preconceptions, however, and over the years a competing post-liberal image emerged of the Ostjude as cultural hero. Brothers and Strangers examines the genesis, development, and consequences of these changing forces in their often complex cultural, political, and intellectual contexts.

Black Banners of Isis

Author: David J. Wasserstein
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300228359
Release Date: 2017-08-22
Genre: History

A medieval Islam historian's incisive portrait of ISIS, revealing the group's deep ideological and intellectual roots in the earliest days of Islam With tremendous speed, the Islamic State has moved from the margins to the center of life in the Middle East. Despite recent setbacks, its ability to conquer and retain huge swaths of territory has demonstrated its skillful tactical maneuvering, ambition, and staying power. Yet we still know too little about ISIS, particularly about its deeper ideology. In this eye-opening book, David J. Wasserstein offers a penetrating analysis of the movement, looking closely at the thousand-year-old form of Islamic apocalyptic messianism the group draws upon today. He shows how ISIS is not only a military and political movement but also, and primarily, a religious one with a coherent worldview, a patent strategy, and a clear goal: the re-creation of a medieval caliphate. Connecting the group's day-to-day activities and the writings and sayings of its leaders with the medieval Islamic past, Wasserstein provides an insightful and unprecedented perspective on the origins and aspirations of the Islamic State.

The Terror Years

Author: Lawrence Wright
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780385352079
Release Date: 2016-08-23
Genre: History

With the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright became generally acknowledged as one of our major journalists writing on terrorism in the Middle East. Here, in ten powerful pieces first published in The New Yorker, he recalls the path that terror in the Middle East has taken, from the rise of al-Qaeda in the 1990s to the recent beheadings of reporters and aid workers by ISIS. The Terror Years draws on several articles he wrote while researching The Looming Tower, as well as many that he’s written since, following where and how al-Qaeda and its core cultlike beliefs have morphed and spread. They include a portrait of the “man behind bin Laden,” Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the tumultuous Egypt he helped spawn; an indelible impression of Saudi Arabia, a kingdom of silence under the control of the religious police; the Syrian film industry, at the time compliant at the edges but already exuding a feeling of the barely masked fury that erupted into civil war; the 2006–11 Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza, a study in the disparate value of human lives. Other chapters examine al-Qaeda as it forms a master plan for its future, experiences a rebellion from within the organization, and spins off a growing web of worldwide terror. The American response is covered in profiles of two FBI agents and the head of the intelligence community. The book ends with a devastating piece about the capture and slaying by ISIS of four American journalists and aid workers, and our government’s failed response. On the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, The Terror Years is at once a unifying recollection of the roots of contemporary Middle Eastern terrorism, a study of how it has grown and metastasized, and, in the scary and moving epilogue, a cautionary tale of where terrorism might take us yet. From the Hardcover edition.

Escapism

Author: Yi-Fu Tuan
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 0801865409
Release Date: 2000-07-25
Genre: Nature

In prehistoric times, our ancestors began building shelters and planting crops in order to escape from nature's harsh realities. Today, we flee urban dangers for the safer, reconfigured world of suburban lawns and parks. According to geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, people have always sought to escape in one way or another, sometimes foolishly, often creatively and ingeniously. Glass-tower cities, suburbs, shopping malls, Disneyland—all are among the most recent monuments in our efforts to escape the constraints and uncertainties of life—ultimately, those imposed by nature. "What cultural product," Tuan asks, "is not escape?" In his new book, the capstone of a celebrated career, Tuan shows that escapism is an inescapable component of human thought and culture.

Global Salafism

Author: Roel Meijer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199333432
Release Date: 2013
Genre: History

"Maps out differences in various Salafist schools. This book examines the phenomenon both in its regional manifestations - which demonstrate surprising diversities, ambivalences and contradictions - and in its shared essential doctrines"--

Irregular War

Author: Paul Rogers
Publisher: I.B.Tauris
ISBN: 9781786720061
Release Date: 2016-06-16
Genre: History

If the rise of Islamic State can overthrow powerful states in a matter of weeks, what kind of a secure future can the world expect? After more than a decade of the war on terror, security specialists thought that Islamist paramilitary movements were in decline; the threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Qaida in Yemen, the chaos in Libya and the return of the Taliban in Afghanistan have all shown that to be wishful thinking. Once again the West is at war in the Middle East.

Two Sisters

Author: Åsne Seierstad
Publisher: Farrar, Strauß and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374279677
Release Date: 2018-04-03
Genre: Political Science

The riveting story of two sisters' journey to the Islamic State and the father who tries to bring them home. ?sne Seierstad puts the problem of radicalization into painfully human terms, using instant messages and other primary sources to reconstruct a family's crisis from the inside. Eventually, she takes us into the hellscape of the Syrian civil war, as Sadiq risks his life in pursuit of his daughters, refusing to let them disappear into the maelstrom. This is a relentless thriller and a feat of reporting with profound lessons about belief, extremism, and the meaning of devotion.

ISIS

Author: Fawaz A. Gerges
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400885596
Release Date: 2017-03-14
Genre: Political Science

The Islamic State has stunned the world with its savagery, destructiveness, and military and recruiting successes. What explains the rise of ISIS and what does it portend for the future of the Middle East? In this book, one of the world's leading authorities on political Islam and jihadism sheds new light on these questions as he provides a unique history of the rise and growth of ISIS. Moving beyond journalistic accounts, Fawaz Gerges provides a clear and compelling account of the deeper conditions that fuel ISIS. The book describes how ISIS emerged in the chaos of Iraq following the 2003 U.S. invasion, how the group was strengthened by the suppression of the Arab Spring and by the war in Syria, and how ISIS seized leadership of the jihadist movement from Al Qaeda. Part of a militant Sunni revival, ISIS claims its goals are to resurrect a caliphate and rid "Islamic lands" of all Shia and other minorities. In contrast to Al Qaeda, ISIS initially focused on the "near enemy"—Shia, the Iraqi and Syrian regimes, and secular, pro-Western states in the Middle East. But in a tactical shift ISIS has now taken responsibility for spectacular attacks in Europe and other places beyond the Middle East, making it clear that the group is increasingly interested in targeting the "far enemy" as well. Ultimately, the book shows how decades of dictatorship, poverty, and rising sectarianism in the Middle East, exacerbated by foreign intervention, led to the rise of ISIS—and why addressing those problems is the only way to ensure its end. An authoritative introduction to arguably the most important conflict in the world today, this is an essential book for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the social turmoil and political violence ravaging the Arab-Islamic world.