Stories about ISIS

Is George Bush responsible for creating ISIS? Not really

The bloody Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) onslaught has left us bewildered, slammed into a corner with little hope of return to peaceful times. Humanity has been blatantly pushed into an unprecedented, smouldering pit of fire that refuses to die down, butchering innocent masses simply trying to get through their days. While bringing to justice this portentous enemy may be an impossible adventure, clearly an axis of evil has descended upon us. All bets are off. Rules have been summarily dispatched out of the window. To every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction – doesn’t take a ...

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“Terror groups only kill non-Muslims”: 5 misconceptions about terror groups

Knowing your enemy is the very first step in fighting and defeating the threat it poses to your existence. Your enemy will always try to fool you with misinformation, so you never find out his actual motives and tactics. The world, both in the West and the East, has been fighting terrorism for decades, even before America saw the brutality of 9/11. The 9/11 terror attacks shifted all the efforts toward growing terrorism in the name of Islam and it was named as the ‘war on terror’. This war has been going on for 14 years now – with attacks around the world only increasing in ...

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Why is Pakistan silent about the San Bernardino shooting?

A flurry of recent incidents involving Islamic extremists – the latest being the shooting in California involving a couple of Pakistani descent – has put Muslims under the critical spotlight in much of the developed world. Such incidents, due to their visibility and shock value, often end up getting a tremendous amount of negative media attention. This has resulted in xenophobic reactions from some political and media quarters. Many do not understand that Islam is not a monolithic faith and not every Muslim is identical. To view the entire Muslim world through the prism of extremist organisations like Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ...

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There can be no “war on terror” without “war on drugs”

Few have witnessed the senseless barbarity of ISIS without rhetorically asking what these brutes have been smoking recently. As it happens, this question is not only pertinent, but strategically impossible to ignore. Captagon, although swallowed and not smoked, is a powerful amphetamine that’s historically landed Saudi Princes into massive scandals. The illicit drug is popular in the Middle East as it’s relatively cheap and easy to manufacture, and serves as an effective stimulant for, say, a militant who has to stay up all night looking out for incoming Russian fighter planes. Turkish authorities have recently seized nearly 11 million Captagon pills near the Syrian border. The similar ...

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My life as a Muslim in the West’s ‘Gray Zone’

Some months ago, I gave a reading from my most recent novel in Scottsdale, Ariz. During the discussion that followed, a woman asked me to talk about my upbringing in Morocco. It’s natural for readers to be curious about a writer they’ve come to hear, I told myself. I continued to tell myself this even after the conversation drifted to Islam, and then to ISIS. Eventually, another woman raised her hand and said that the only Muslims she saw when she turned on the television were extremists.  “Why aren’t we hearing more from people like you?” she asked me. “You are,” ...

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Should Turkey have abdicated its sovereign rights for the greater good?

The downing of the Russian plane that allegedly violated Turkey’s borders might go down in history as the event that led to something much grander in the global context. Or it could just be a news story that shocked and bemused its audience. For an amateur historian, this particular incident is a point of great interest because he knows that the worst of conflicts have erupted over much smaller bullets. Those conflicts have taken the lives of millions and have had the potential to wipe out all existence from the face of the earth. The fateful bullet that took the life of Austrio-Hungarian ...

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Hillary Clinton takes on ISIS

This week we had a chance to watch Hillary Clinton respond in real time to a complex foreign policy challenge. On Thursday, six days after the Paris attacks, she gave a comprehensive antiterrorism speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. The speech was very impressive. While other candidates are content to issue vague calls to get tough on terror, Clinton offered a multi-layered but coherent framework, not only dealing with ISIS but also putting that threat within the crosscutting conflicts that are inflaming the Middle East. For example, instead of just issuing a generic call to get tough on the terrorists, she pointed to the reality ...

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Why Muslims should empathise with Islamophobia

After 9/11, the world was pushed into a forced and impetuous war on terror by the president of the United States in 2001. A war on terror means nothing less than more terror and the aftereffects of the war have shown that the war achieved little more than destruction.  But the infamous George W Bush in his post 9/11 speech said, “I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit ...

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Making sense of terror attacks anthropologically

On the evening of November 13, 2015, Paris suffered the worst terrorist attack in modern European history, killing over 120 people. The scale and sheer barbarity of the attacks is unprecedented. The French society is in trauma. The world is in shock. Paris, still reeling from the aftermath of the deadly Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year, will no longer be the same city. From holding vigils to changing Facebook display pictures in French flag colours, the attacks have prompted an exceptional display of solidarity with the victims by the global community. The western leaders have been quick in showing support for Paris, calling it ...

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Today, we take solace in the hope that #PorteOuverte has offered us

When a calamity strikes, be it an earthquake, a flood, or a terrorist attack, headlines are made all over the world, a certain meta-narrative grips us all. We are told that a certain number of people died, a certain amount of damage was done, a certain type of people was responsible. We become transfixed with questions like ‘what happened?’, ‘why did it happen?’ and ‘who did it?’ We become consumed with the pathology of violence. They answers we seek are what we call ‘primary’ pellets of empirical information that are intertwined to form a story that conforms to the framework of ...

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