Academic Caviar

Ok, this one is a bit heavy. It’s three pieces all dealing with the question of whether ISIS is (or is not) Islamic. The first piece is the Atlantic article that I put up last week, followed by a response by Mehdi Hasan who rebuts Wood’s thesis in the New Statesman. Finally, there’s Tom Holland’s New Statesman response to Hasan. Be warned that these are not for the casual reader, but if you really want to acquaint yourself with the arguments flying around out there, these are excellent sources. While I’m not terribly familiar with Holland and Wood, Hasan is a very well-known Islamic apologist. I tend not to agree with him, and his piece is by far the longest of the two. It is very well-written, though I fear that he has devoted about 10,000 words of excellent prose to a circular argument wherein ISIS isn’t Islamic because he and a number of Islamic scholars say so. In this respect, Holland’s response to Hasan is terrific. I’m really partial to the comparison between the Protestant Reformation and Radical Islam. I think it would be very difficult to rebut the comparison without insisting on some sort of Islamic exceptionalism (the bete noire of the post-modernist/post-colonialist crowd). For those brave souls who have an opinion on this, let me know what you think in the comments.

The Atlantic (Wood)

New Statesman (Hasan)

New Statesman (Holland)

Lastly, because I’ve spent the weekend indulging myself with ‘deep thoughts’ on Islam and the West, I thought I’d include a spectacular panel discussion from just a few weeks ago which includes both Douglas Murray and Maajid Nawaz.

[Panel Discussion]

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