Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Islam Category

ISIS, Trolls, and the Language of Hate

  • January 02, 2017
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In a powerful New Year’s video for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Kemal Pervanic, a Bosnian Muslim,  remembers how he ended up being interrogated and tortured in a concentration camp by his favourite teacher during the Yugoslav Wars.    He  asks his viewers to learn the lessons of history, and bear in mind the possibility that such things are not unique to any particular time period:  ‘If you speak to anyone out there right now, they’ll tell you that they’re crazy if you tell them that something like that may...

Burkini Madness

  • August 25, 2016
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Anyone who has travelled in France this summer will have found it difficult to ignore the   the ongoing state of emergency with which the French state has responded to Daesh’s savage provocations.     In Banyuls-sur-Mer, we found the main road by the beach guarded by armed soldiers, presumably mindful of a repeat...

Abderramane Sissako’s Timbuktu Blues

  • January 05, 2016
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I have nothing against cinema as recreational entertainment, or going to the movies for the sake of escapism.  Cinema has always served these purposes, and there is nothing inherently ignoble about them.   But such expectations also tend to produce an awful lot of mass-produced ephemeral dross and formulaic over-hyped blockbusters drenched in...

Islamic State’s ‘radicalized’ British volunteers: a useful threat?

  • June 17, 2015
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I feel sorry for the Bradford husbands and other British Muslim families whose children and relatives have absconded to join Islamic State’s savage utopia, but I don’t feel any sympathy at all for the ‘radicalized’ volunteers themselves who have gone to Syria.   It isn’t as if you have to look very far to know...

The ISIS Caliphate: Salafism as a strategic asset?

  • May 22, 2015
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I have yet to see any reference in the mainstream media to Monday’s publication by   the conservative foundation Judicial Watch of previously classified US intelligence documents obtained as the result of a freedom of information lawsuit   This inattention is alarming, because one of these documents provides some disturbing background behind the nightmarish...

Letter from Palmyra

  • May 21, 2015
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Hey brother,

Greetings from Palmyra!   I’m telling you bro, this has been a good week for the Caliphate, because we are LIVING THE DREAM!       First we took Ramadi and you should have seen the Iraqi army run away from us!   Afterwards we killed the ones we caught and anyone else who...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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