I am reblogging this because there’s been a lot of talk in the media about why people go over to Iraq to join Islamic State. Since the West started bombing them, thousands of new recruits have gone to join IS. Is this a sudden outbreak of religious extremism, or is there something else at work? Based on all the research which suggests that individuals join these groups for political reasons based on grievances, I suspect that IS’s popularity is due not to their extreme violence or the particular brand of religion they espouse, but because they are seen as successfully fighting against imperialism and oppression. They represent the most powerful and coherent anti-imperialist movement today. Just as young people joined left-wing movements in the 1960s and 1970s in order to fight imperialism, so they are joining IS today. In my novel, I try and explore this theme and explain why someone would choose to fight the West’s self-serving and imperialistic actions in the Middle East and elsewhere. I believe that if you want to better understand why people are joining IS, there might be some clues in my novel.
In 2011, I started writing a novel about terrorism. I did so because although I had read literally hundreds of novels about terrorism, I had yet to find one which I could in all good conscience recommend to my students as a useful supplement to the academic literature. There did not seem to be any novels which gave an authentic account of why someone would join a terrorist group or choose the life of militant. I also wrote it because I knew that Critical Terrorism Studies needed to find new ways to communicate its ideas to the public. It was not going to be enough to write more academic books and articles; we needed more affective and interesting ways of writing about terrorism.
I am happy to report that in May 2014 my novel, Confessions of a Terrorist, will be published by Zed Books. Below is an abridged version…
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