from Alireza Doostdar, who teaches Islamic Studies and Anthropology of Religion at University of Chicago Divinity School. from the div school's Martin Marty Center. here.
a couple samples:
The emphasis on ISIS’ Salafi worldview has tended to obscure the many
grievances that may motivate fighters to join an increasingly efficient
militant group that promises to vanquish their oppressors. Do they need
to “convert” to ISIS’ worldview to fight with or for them? Do they need
to aspire to a caliphate, as does ISIS leadership, in order to join
forces with them? These questions are never asked, and “beliefs” are
made simply to fill the explanatory void...
ISIS’ brutality did not emerge in a vacuum; rather, it is part of a whole ecology of cruelty spread out over more than a decade.
Perhaps a decapitation is more cruel than blowing a body to bits with a
high-caliber machine gun, incinerating it with a remote-controlled
drone, or burning and lacerating it with a barrel bomb. But even if we
limit ourselves to close-up, low-technology brutality, ISIS beheadings
are hardly out of place.
The earliest video-taped decapitation of an American citizen in Iraq was
conducted by ISIS’ predecessors in 2004 in response, they claimed, to
the photographed and video-recorded torture, rape, and murder of
detainees in the Abu Ghraib prison . In 2011, it emerged that some
American soldiers in Afghanistan had been hunting civilians for sport
and collecting their fingers and teeth as souvenirs . In the
sectarian bloodshed that engulfed Iraq after the U.S. invasion,
beheadings by Sunni insurgents turned into a morbid form of reciprocity
with Shi‘a militiamen who bore holes into their victims using power