Paradise Lost: The Rise and Fall of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

I entered Najiyeh, a small town of no consequence, without their permission. The town claimed to be an ISIS principality. The claim seemed ridiculous but as we drove in to the town it seemed less so. They had fixed the prices, the markets were bustling, even the gold shops were… Read more“Paradise Lost: The Rise and Fall of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi”

The Human Nature of Jihadism- an interview with al-Maqālāt

Here begins a series of interviews and dialogues with al-Maqālāt who describes himself as “an independent media outlet”.  He tweets under @Al_Maqal_Ps. The reader will find that the interviewees attitudes and views are useful because he encapsulates a certain outlook which serves as a useful barometer for how some Salafi-Jihadists… Read more“The Human Nature of Jihadism- an interview with al-Maqālāt”

Taking Exception to Shadi Hamid’s Islamic Exceptionalism

It takes a brave person to comment on the Middle East, one never knows when a crisis will erupt that threaten to render one’s judgment obsolete. Since first reading Shadi Hamid’s Islamic Exceptionalism [1], Turkey’s AK Party have suffered an attempted failed coup orchestrated by parts of Turkey’s military, and Tunisian Islamists… Read more“Taking Exception to Shadi Hamid’s Islamic Exceptionalism”

Islamic State Attacks in Europe: A Rough Guide to ISIS Lone Wolves

How an ISIS organised attack looks like There is a myth that the Islamic State claims every terror attack in the West as its own. But even its claims of responsibility for events should be accepted sceptically. Let’s establish a criterion that distinguishes between directed attacks – that is those… Read more“Islamic State Attacks in Europe: A Rough Guide to ISIS Lone Wolves”

Soul and the City- words from graffiti artist Mohammed Ali

Interview with Mohammed Ali first appeared in the New Internationalist reproduced with kind permission in the December issue 2012. What are your early memories of Graffiti? Flicking through Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant. Growing up in the 1980s, I remember how the book opened my eyes to New York… Read more“Soul and the City- words from graffiti artist Mohammed Ali”