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This week’s front page editor

“Francesc”

Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Your fatwa does not apply here

The UN Human Rights Council has appointed Karima Bennoune as Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights. Bennoune is the author of the book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.

Struggling against fascism: an open letter

Considering the horrors wrought by the Islamic State, a professor writes to his former students at the University of Duhok to remind them that the starting point of the struggle for emancipation is within ourselves. 

Why we hate our reflections: Saudi Arabia and the Islamic State

Al Saud might be afraid of many things, but the main threat to their survival comes from within their historical legacy, from their own language; from the Islamic State.

The intimacy of tyranny: Syria's de facto state legitimacy

The state has remained resilient in conflict-ridden Syria. A look into the intricacies of the abusive citizen-state relationship, and the state's Hobbesian passion for self-preservation.

Progressive Muslims in a world of ISIS and Islamophobes

Ani Zonneveld, president of Muslims for Progressive Values, explains the struggle to organize progressive Muslim communities and institutions in a fight back in the era of ISIS.

The stories we tell about ISIS and women

Political and popular discussions about strategies to confront ISIS are doing women in Iraq and Syria a disservice, and playing into the hands of ISIS.

Sexualized violence in Iraq: how to understand and fight it

Sexualised and gender-based violence in Iraq, highlighted in recent weeks in relation to ISIS atrocities, has been at the heart of sectarian and authoritarian politics and developments since 2003. How can we talk about it and mobilise against it?

Belgian jihadists in Syria: alienation, consumption, power

Politicians are flexing their muscles and alienated youngsters are defiantly posting their Syrian ‘adventures’ online, but in the meantime the rule of law is being eroded without much notice.  

IS – a threat to the structure of international law?

The theological and ideological basis for IS’s struggle visualizes this as a fight against the spiritual power centre of European public international law: Rome.

How ISIS impacts on Turkey’s daily life

We must face up to the fact that an Islamic terror has now entered Turkey if we are to find a solution to the danger which is ISIS and the political and societal problems that give rise to it.

Can the Arab world defeat ISIS?

Maged Mandour

What will three forces contribute to the defeat of ISIS: Arab autocrats, moderate Islamist groups and secular democratic protest movements - the first initiators of the Arab Revolt? We can discount the first...

When the US chooses terrorism

IS was created by lack of justice, dignity and governance. Instead of tackling these root issues, the US chose to target the outcomes through brutal terrorism to maintain its hegemonic power structure in the region. 

Kobane: the struggle of Kurdish women against Islamic State

The international community should support a secular, multi-religious and multi-ethnic Rojava with democratic ambitions, that is a threat for IS and equally for the conservative Islamic government in Turkey. This is democracy in action in the Middle East.

Understanding calls for reinstating the Islamic State

Maududi’s writings on implementing Sharia and Qutb’s radical approach contributed to Jihadist movements that have been multiplying like mushrooms since the mid-seventies of the last century.

How not to understand ISIS

The view that one particular religious doctrine is uniquely extremist won’t help us to appreciate the cycles of brutality that feed on narratives of torture, murder and desecration. 

Tempered desire: the BRICS and the Islamic State crisis

What roles have the emerging BRICS powers played throughout the crisis of the Islamic State? Reflecting on this can tell us about the internal and external nature of both the emerging powers and the more multipolar world that has been constantly heralded.

ISIS airstrikes: between imperialism and orientalism

Maged Mandour

Islamic radicalism is the product of societal developments and it is not directly related to the religion of Islam. The lessons of Iraq are being actively ignored by the US and the west in general. The main tenets of American foreign policy, which have done well for extremism, are unchanged.

A war going according to plan - but which plan?

A letter from Raqqa, in the heart of territory controlled by the Islamic State.

The attractions of jihadism, and a generational nihilism stretching far beyond the Muslim sphere

French Muslims are protesting against the conflation of Islam with jihadism, and about France's engagement in the coalition. If the French government really wants to steer young people away from terrorism, here's what it should be doing instead. Interview with specialist on Islam, Olivier Roy.

Promoting the global secular alternative in the ISIS era

While many of us watch in horror as ISIS advances, and fundamentalist ideas spread across religious traditions around the world, Maryam Namazie and Marieme Hélie-Lucas - secular feminists from Iran and Algeria - told Karima Bennoune why they are convening the International Secular Conference in London.

The Islamic State and the global Great Game

The unravelling of Iraqi society set the context for the emergence of the Islamic State-led insurgency in Iraq. But the role played by IS is a byproduct of the flows of capital and ideology in a much wider theatre of power. 

Obama's dysfunctional coalition of the unwilling

The US call for "the broadest coalition of nations" to fight ISIS is simply an invocation of past moral crusades. But other states' willingness to commit to war is much changed from 2003. 

Genealogies of empire: the Islamic State as a western symptom

The butcher of Foley has in a sense defied the genealogies of empire and the 'be with us or against us' mentality now once again at the forefront of politics.

Into the third Iraq war

Washington's strategy to defeat the Islamic State has the same deep flaws that marked earlier phases of the "war on terror".

Tripoli airstrikes

Maged Mandour

These airstrikes demonstrate new fault lines in the Arab world: between Arab conservative regimes, their Islamist foes, and the democratic secular forces who find themselves in an impossible situation. 

From 1990s Algeria to 9/11 and ISIS: understanding the history of "Homo islamicus fundamentalensis"

Today’s brutal jihadists like “Islamic State” follow in the footsteps of fundamentalists who have afflicted Muslim majority societies since the 12th century. Algerian anthropologist Mahfoud Bennoune revisited that history in order to strategize against jihadists - a task which remains essential.

Islamic State: from the inside

The west must understand the Islamic State's worldview, and accept its own failings, if it is to meet the challenge.

How America made ISIS


The American record in these last 13 years is a shameful one.  Do it again should not be an option.

A new kind of freedom born in terror

The revolution which has been taking place across Rojava (literally, ‘Western Kurdistan’), where three cantons were set up in January this year, has a grassroots democratic model.

The Governorate of Homs: the Islamic State’s new fiefdom?

The Islamic State (IS), has been able to assert its dominance over wide areas of Iraq and Syria. The Province of Homs is particularly interesting, because the IS is expanding there, but has been unable to establish its authority over all rebel forces. 

Why Washington's war on terror failed: the underrated Saudi connection

So far, Washington has successfully escaped blame for the rise of ISIS. In fact, it has created a situation in which ISIS can survive and may well flourish. 

America and Islamic State: mission creeping?

The United States is increasing support of its Iraqi and Kurdish allies and escalating attacks on its jihadist enemies. Islamic State's long-term plan, though, remains on track.  

The ISIS twitterati and the online jihad

ISIS and Al-Qaeda—which includes ISIS rivals the Al-Nusra Front in Syria—are competing over the same ‘talent pool’ of marginalized and angry Arab and Islamic youth, and ISIS is winning hands down.

Islamic State, Iraq, America: a new front

A military escalation in Iraq depends on Washington's assessment of the Islamic State's power and intentions. But the jihadis are also thinking hard about their next target. 

A lasting presence for IS in Iraq and Syria: interview with Romain Caillet

On 29 June, after the spectacular takeover of Mosul and other Iraqi cities, the Islamic State (IS) declared a caliphate in Iraq and Syria. How can the sudden rise to power of IS be explained? What is the future of the caliphate, and of the region as a whole? Romain Caillet provides an assessment. Interview.

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