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Under ISIS's Rule
Life in the Caliphate

Graeme Wood’s “What ISIS Really Wants” made a big splash—and rightly so—in The Atlantic today for its extensive exploration of the Islamic terror group’s roots and motives.

Readers interested in the subject might want to consider as a companion piece Rasha Al Aqeedi’s story on life inside the Islamic State from the latest print issue of The American Interest. Aqeedi, a former resident of Mosul who still has extensive contacts there, draws a heart-wrenching sketch of what life is like under the Caliphate:

Alas, after the fall of the city, Manar, like every other female, has been forced to wear a full burqa. This outfit really does cramp one’s style. “Were we nude before? What was wrong with our clothes?” exclaims Manar, as her voice register shoots upward. “Nothing of our skin was exposed. Must we look like portable garbage bags for Allah to be content with us? How will I practice medicine? So that’s it? Everything I worked hard for and planned is gone?” She absolutely breaks my heart. This young, brilliant, and dedicated woman once so passionate about life is asking questions no one appears able to answer.

Aqeedi covers topics from how to heat your home when you’re under an Iraqi-Kurdish embargo to intellectual resistance movements within the city. We highly recommend you read the whole thing.

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  • Anthony

    Life in the Caliphate means recognizing that we face an “ideology” that will not be defeated by military means only. “Ideological violence is a means to an end. But with an ideology, the end is idealistic” – a Caliphate

    • Andrew Allison

      Au contraire, an ideology (quotes, rather obviously, being inappropriate in this case) can only be defeated by overwhelming force. We are, like it or not at war with radical Islam, which has the objective of cleansing the Earth of non-believers. We have, IMO, a simple choice: we can concede to the Caliphate that which is not worth defending and defend that which is to our utmost ability, or surrender to it. The same inescapable logic, incidentally, applies to Ukraine.

    • FriendlyGoat

      The key to this is busting the entire myth that Mohammad is a Prophet of anything whatsoever. It ain’t easy, but we westerners already know the correct answer and pulling as many as possible of the billion and a half Muslims back out of the nonsense is the only real answer. As long as the “moderate” Muslims cannot confront the “radicals” because of their incoherent—not sure—maybe—subject to “Koranic study”—–margins of reverence for the whole thing, not much can improve on the ideological front..

      • Anthony

        That Atlantic piece from a couple of days ago is interesting; if you have not read it peruse it over. It’s linked to one of these TAI briefs.

        • FriendlyGoat

          I plan to. But I decided years ago that Islam is an empty vessel, and I wish everyone had. Ultimately no one can buy just a little bit of Mohammad. One is either “all in”, or one decides to get his peaceful motivations from somewhere else. There is plenty of good philosophy floating around to enable a person to say “no” to Islam.
          Just, “no”. And this is the ultimate key. The rest of our strategy is based on a lot of killing.

          • Andrew Allison

            If, as you suggest, Islam is an empty vessel, so is the Judeo-Christian tradition. I’m not arguing that they are not empty (it’s a bit more complicated that that), just that we should recognize that they are equivalent. What we should be hoping (praying?) for is that Islam will reject radicalism/

          • LarryD

            Non-sequitur. It is true that Christianity is so organically connected to Judaism that if Judaism is false, then Christianity cannot be true, but neither of them is dependent upon Islam, which came on the scene centuries later.

          • Andrew Allison

            I beg to differ. My argument was that both are Abrahamic, so if if Islam is false, so must be Judeo-Christianity. I’m not suggesting that they are false, just that we be consistent.

      • Andrew Allison

        Radical Islam is based on a highly selective view of the teachings of the Koran. When the Islamic Empire was at its zenith, other religions and women were both respected. There are those (of whom I’m one) who think that there’s a direct relationship between the decline of this ecumenity and the decent of Islamic States into barbarity. As an aside, I trust that you are aware that Judaism (and Christianity) and Islam are both Abrahamic, i.e. If Muhammad is not a prophet, neither are the Judeo-Christian prophets.

  • skhpcola

    Must we look like portable garbage bags for Allah to be content with us? How will I practice medicine? So that’s it? Everything I worked hard for and planned is gone?

    Yes, you must look like portable garbage bags, because your cult’s masters demand it. Medicine? Pfft. You belong to a 7th-century death cult and it is the 21st century. Things like modern medicine have no place in the cesspool of islum. You worked hard and planned? Too bad. Your filthy cult ruins everything that it touches. You could become an apostate and become a member of civilization, or you can choose to remain in your cult. Your consternation is cute, but islum and it feral nature are well-documented in both history and the current era.

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