Speaking recently at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama called ISIS a “brutal, vicious death cult.” As the atrocities and inhumanity of the ISIS horror show spread and worsen, as air strikes continue, and as more combat troops are inserted, even people who have remained largely uninformed now know that they need at least some understanding of ISIS that goes beyond CNN or Fox News. So I thought it would be useful to gather in one place, for easy access, a number of short but informative articles on this.
Last year, over the space of two or three months on this blog, I posted several threads of well researched background articles that readers found helpful for learning what ISIS is on about. These non-sensationalistic but necessary pieces delve well beyond typical news coverage, talk radio punditry, political newspeak, and the religious hyper-ventilating that leaves far too many important questions untouched. Interested? If so, I have listed the first post of each of those threads here, just below, in the order that they were published, beginning with the first post. (At the end of each of those posts is a link taking you to the next piece in that thread.)
We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity. You can probably get through the complete fabric in an hour or two and take away a good “reader’s digest” version of where ISIS/ISIL is coming from and what its religious, political, and social goals are. This will also help you see what leaders of more than sixty nations understand about ISIS/ISIL and why they recently gathered in Washington for an unprecedented three-day summit on countering ISIS.
This is the only place on the Web, at least that I know of, where you can avail yourself of a detailed collection like this in one place. It may not scratch all of your itches, but you will come away pretty well informed.
Here is the list of threads, in order, beginning with the first one. But they have been written in such a way that you could jump in anywhere. I don’t have all the answers (no one does), but such as I have I give to you. If you find this list useful, send it to a friend or two.
1) RELIGION AND THE POST-9/11 BIG PICTURE part 1 of 2
2) THE RELIGIOUS ROOTS OF AL QAEDA AND ISIS part 1 of 4
3) WHERE ISIS STANDS: US VS. EVERYONE ELSE part 1 of 2
4) ISIS & THE RISE AND FALL OF ISLAM part 1 of 3
5) ISIS & AL QAEDA: THE ROLE OF JIHAD part 1 of 2
6) ISIS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE IN ISLAM part 1 of 2
7) ISIS & JIHAD: INEVITABLE WAR
©2015 by Charles Strohmer
Image by Brian Donovan (permission via Creative Commons)