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Alireza Doostdar

How Not To Understand ISIS

[Flag of ISIS, ronniechua /]

October 2, 2014  The group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant or simply the Islamic State (ISIL, ISIS, or IS) has attracted much attention in the past few months with its dramatic military gains in Syria and Iraq and with the recent U.S. decision to wage war against it. As analysts are called to explain ISIS’ ambitions, its appeal, and its brutality, they often turn to an examination of what they consider to be its religious worldview—a combination of ...

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Alireza Doostdar


Alireza Doostdar, is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and the Anthropology of Religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His upcoming book, The Experimenters: Science, Skepticism, and the Supernatural in Iran, explores religious experimentation among Iranians.