Graeme Wood



Average rating: 4.15 · 790 ratings · 123 reviews · 6 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Way of the Strangers: E...

4.15 avg rating — 774 ratings — published 2016 — 19 editions
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What ISIS Really Wants

4.38 avg rating — 13 ratings — published 2015
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His Kampf : Richard Spencer...

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Guerra Del Fin De Los Tiemp...

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La guerra alla fine dei tem...

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Blind Spot: America's Respo...

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“One of the photos Yaken posted on social media after he made it to Syria showed a bucket filled with severed heads, hashtagged “#headmeat.”36 Irrespective of whether his adventure to the land of the caliphate was spiritually fulfilling, the imagery it produced was a kind of pornography. And like all pornography, it aroused strong reactions, ranging from titillation to revulsion, and sometimes both at once. These reactions share an intellectually disarming effect. As in the case of porn, they resist detached analysis. The scholar of religion Jonathan Z. Smith noted a similar tendency in the failure to understand the mass suicide at Jonestown in 1978. The problem, he said, was an unwillingness to undertake the difficult task of “looking, rather than staring or looking away.”37”
Graeme Wood, The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State

“Centuries have passed since the wars of religion ceased in Europe, and since men stopped dying in large numbers because of arcane theological disputes. Hence, perhaps, the incredulity and denial with which Westerners have greeted news of the theology and practices of the Islamic State. Many refuse to believe that this group is as devout as it claims to be, or as backward-looking or apocalyptic as its actions and statements suggest.

"Their skepticism is comprehensible. In the past, Westerners who accused Muslims of blindly following ancient scriptures came to deserved grief from academics—notably the late Edward Said—who pointed out that calling Muslims 'ancient' was usually just another way to denigrate them. Look instead, these scholars urged, to the conditions in which these ideologies arose—the bad governance, the shifting social mores, the humiliation of living in lands valued only for their oil.

"Without acknowledgment of these factors, no explanation of the rise of the Islamic State could be complete. But focusing on them to the exclusion of ideology reflects another kind of Western bias: that if religious ideology doesn’t matter much in Washington or Berlin, surely it must be equally irrelevant in Raqqa or Mosul. When a masked executioner says Allahu akbar while beheading an apostate, sometimes he’s doing so for religious reasons.”
Graeme Wood

“It would be facile, even exculpatory, to call the problem of the Islamic State 'a problem with Islam.' The religion allows many interpretations, and Islamic State supporters are morally on the hook for the one they choose. And yet simply denouncing the Islamic State as un-Islamic can be counterproductive, especially if those who hear the message have read the holy texts and seen the endorsement of many of the caliphate’s practices written plainly within them.”
Graeme Wood

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