What does ISIS want? Rethinking difficult questions

On Monday I published a more detailed critique of Graham Wood’s article on ISIS (having previously written briefly about it here, though that posting was primarily referring to other people’s critiques of the article). My new blog posting stems from an engagement with the ideas behind ‘Critical Religion’ and the ways in which we use certain kinds of language.

Happy reading!

The Critical Religion Association

Graham Wood recently published a widely-read article entitled “What ISIS really wants and how to stop it” and has received much praise for his insights. His article is not without its problems, however, and I highlighted some critiques in a short posting on my personal blog.

I want to engage a little more with some of the questions that are being asked by Wood and others, starting with a key pattern of discourse that I see repeatedly. A recent interview by Sky News’ Kay Burley with Cerie Bullivant of Cage UK exemplifies this:

Burley is not known for her nuanced and sensitive reporting. However, asking Bullivant whether he condemned the beheadings ascribed to Londoner Mohammed Emwazi in the way she did is simply a more boorish form of a demand to take responsibility for others’ crimes that is often made of Muslims but not others, as numerous commentators have repeatedly pointed out ever since the 2001 attacks…

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