Center for Strategic Communication

Human Sacrifice and State-Building

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“] A while back I had a longish post that argued that the mass executions practiced by ISIS drew from the long pagan tradition of ritualistic human sacrifice. Today in the news, some social scientists see evidence of human sacrifice as the...

Aman, or reciprocal safety under Islamic law

[ by Charles Cameron — what eye do you use when there’s more going on than meets the eye? ] . Twice in one day, a week or so ago, I had reason to look up the meaning of “aman” in Islamic law. My source here was M. Reichberg and Henrik Syse, eds., Religion, War, and...

ISIS: Paganism with an Islamic Face?

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a “zen“] “And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Moloch, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.” – Leviticus 18:21  “They rejected the commandments of the Lord … and served Baal. They consigned...

The Cockroaches of War. And of Jihad

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a “zen“] John Robb had a cool post on the ultra-radical takfiri insurgency ISIS/ISIL and their self-proclaimed Sunni “Caliphate“, the Islamic State, whom he gave as an example of “the cockroaches of war”: ISIS Opens The World’s...

Four Maps that Explain Islam in Asia

Islam transcends the Middle-Eastern corridor with which most Westerners associate it, stretching from the western coast of Africa to the Pacific Ocean. It contains an incredible variety of different sects, beliefs, and traditions, most of which firmly reject the...