No, Channel 4: Islam is Not Responsible for Islamic State by Peter Oborne

Unlike most historians, Tom Holland writes books which bring the past to life. This makes him a national treasure. But I am baffled by his recent documentary about Islamic State (IS), Isis: The Origins of Violence.

It argues that the extreme violence of self-proclaimed IS should be interpreted in significant ways as a manifestation of Islam itself.

Holland suggests, for example, that the Ottoman army which captured Constantinople in 1453 was a precursor to IS. He thus connects IS to Sunni Islam's most distinctive political institution, the Caliphate.

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Eid and Tragedy

Shanon Shah

“How can I celebrate Eid in light of all the carnage that’s been happening throughout Ramadan?” That’s the question I asked myself after the suicide bomb attack in Baghdad. The death toll is 165 as at Monday 4 July 2016; the so-called Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility.

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Anyone who bothers about the stones of Palmyra will also care about the souls of Tadmur

Boyd Tonkin

Last Sunday, I heard a leading Muslim intellectual talk in sorrow and even anger about the reckless damage inflicted by extremists on cultural treasures in an Arab land.

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A Letter to Young Muslim Girls if you are Considering Leaving the UK to join ISIS

Sara Khan of We Will Inspire

Dear Sister,

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Wahhabism to ISIS: how Saudi Arabia exported the main source of global terrorism

Karen Armstrong

As the so-called Islamic State demolishes nation states set up by the Europeans almost a century ago, IS’s obscene savagery seems to epitomise the violence that many believe to be inherent in religion in general and Islam in particular. It also suggests that the neoconservative ideology that inspired the Iraq war was delusory, since it assumed that the liberal nation state was an inevitable outcome of modernity and that, once Saddam’s dictatorship had gone, Iraq could not fail to become a western-style democracy.

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My Faith has been Hijacked by Extremists. We Must Reclaim It

Sara Khan

How to respond to the inhumane, senseless and unjust murder of Alan Henning? Hoping against hope, I desperately wished that Alan would be reunited with his family. But at the brutal hands of Islamic State (Isis), his murder was sadly inevitable. There was no mercy. There was no compassion. Yet the news, even if expected, was heartbreaking.

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The Myth of Religious Violence

Karen Armstrong

As we watch the fighters of the Islamic State (Isis) rampaging through the Middle East, tearing apart the modern nation-states of Syria and Iraq created by departing European colonialists, it may be difficult to believe we are living in the 21st century.

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The ISIS Demand for a Caliphate is about Power, Not Religion

William Dalrymple

On 3 March 1924, the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul was surrounded by Republican Turkish troops. Inside, the last Ottoman caliph, Abdülmecid II, was reading the essays of Montaigne. Late that night, the prefect of police came to tell him that Ataturk's new assembly in Ankara had just voted to abolish the caliphate and that he was to leave the country at dawn.

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