Earlier this year, the New York Times Book Review ran a review by Dexter Filkins of Graeme Wood’s The Way of The Strangers. This book is based on Wood’s interviews with Daesh supporters and examination of canonic Islamic texts, making the case that Daesh is firmly rooted in Islam — albeit a minority interpretation — and is not a betrayal of its principles as the great bulk of Muslims claim. As the Prophet of the Lovely Star often stated his admiration of Islamic, these latterday dvelopments within the faith could be of interest to Thelemites. Likewise, Daesh offers a cautionary tale to us adherents of a relatively young religion of an essentially benign spiritual movement producing horrific fruit in the hands of extremist demagogues. I should add that Filkins questions the basic thesis of The Way of The Strangers and claims that Daesh is primarily of anti-social thugs wrapping themselves in religion-based justifications that they themselves don’t take seriously. In part the article states:
“In the years since, ISIS’ breathtaking lust for anarchy — temple-smashings, beheadings, crucifixions — has inevitably prompted the question: What do these people want? The usual answers — money, power, status — do not seem to suffice. Graeme Wood, a correspondent for The Atlantic and a lecturer at Yale, believes he has found something like an answer, and that it can be located in the sacred texts, teachings and folklore of early Islam. In “The Way of the Strangers,” Wood, through a series of conversations with ISIS enthusiasts, shows that many of them claim to want the same thing: a theocratic state without borders, ruled by a leader who meets a series of strict qualifications, and who adheres to a brand of Islam that most people — including most Muslims — would find stifling and abhorrent.
“The most novel aspect of Wood’s book is that he shows, convincingly, that the stifling and abhorrent practices of the Islamic State are rooted in Islam itself — not mainstream Islam, but in scriptures and practices that have persisted for centuries. There’s no use denying it. ‘For years now, the Islamic State and its supporters have been producing essays, fatwas, . . . films and tweets at an industrial pace,’ Wood writes. ‘In studying them we see a coherent view of the world rooted in a minority interpretation of Islamic scripture that has existed, in various forms, for almost as long as the religion itself.’ That goes for the most barbarous practices as well: ‘Slavery has been practiced by Muslims for most of Islamic history, and it was practiced without apology by Muhammad and his companions, who owned slaves and had sex with them.’” (one might point out the Christians in the America’s practiced slavery up into mid 19th century and that the Leviticus includes regulations of the treatment of slaves).
Read the entire piece here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/books/review/way-of-the-strangers-isis-graeme-wood.html