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Islamic Studies

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  1. 0 reviews 0 5 3 3 out of 5 stars 3/5
    4.5 hrs • 3/8/2016 • Unabridged

    A former Islamic State hostage and veteran Middle East journalist explores misperceptions of Islamic State and their consequences. For more than a decade, French journalist Nicolas Hénin has reported from the front lines of conflict in the Middle East, much of his time spent in Iraq and Syria. He witnessed the events leading to the rise of Islamic State, and in June 2013, he was himself captured by IS and spent ten months in captivity with James Foley and others who were beheaded soon after Hénin was released. Those barbarities and the first strikes against Islamic State prompted Hénin to present in Jihad Academy what he knows IS to be, in contrast to the misperceptions he sees perpetuated on an ongoing basis. Hénin sees Islamic State as a political entity, having arisen out of a sense of injustice and lack of hope and as the natural result of the Western inability to support Syrian democracy activists. The West, however, sees IS only as a terrorist organization, ignoring its political message and goals; by doing so, we act as a recruitment agent for Islamic State and largely overlook the greatest victims of IS violence: civilians on the ground. IS will only be ultimately defeated, he argues, by the people of the region, just as others have overthrown groups that practiced political violence on their people. Jihad Academy is a fresh and powerful assessment by a writer with the perspective of a historian, the passion of a journalist long committed to the region, and the credibility of someone who has witnessed terrorism firsthand. Hénin’s is an important new voice in the ongoing debate about our role in the Middle East.

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    Jihad Academy by Nicolas Hénin

    Jihad Academy

    Translated by Martin Makinson
    4.5 hrs • 3/8/16 • Unabridged
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    10.8 hrs • 1/15/2016 • Unabridged

    An insightful account of one man’s drastic evolution from religious fervor to enlightened peace. Maajid Nawaz spent his teenage years listening to American hip-hop and learning about the radical Islamist movement spreading throughout Europe and Asia in the 1980s and ’90s. At sixteen, he was already a ranking member in Hizb ut-Tahrir, a London-based Islamist group. He quickly rose through the ranks to become a top recruiter, a charismatic spokesman for the cause of uniting Islam’s political power across the world. Nawaz was setting up satellite groups in Pakistan, Denmark, and Egypt when he was rounded up in the aftermath of 9/11 along with many other radical Muslims. He was sent to an Egyptian prison where he was, fortuitously, jailed along with the assassins of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. Twenty years in prison had changed the assassins’ views on Islam and violence; Maajid went into prison preaching to them about the Islamist cause, but the lessons ended up going the other way. He came out of prison four years later completely changed, convinced that his entire belief system had been wrong and determined to do something about it. He met with activists and heads of state, built a network, and started a foundation, Quilliam, to combat the rising Islamist tide in Europe and elsewhere, using his intimate knowledge of recruitment tactics in order to reverse extremism and persuade Muslims that the “narrative” used to recruit them—that the West is evil and the cause of all Muslim suffering—is false. Radical is a fascinating and important look into one man’s journey out of extremism and into something else entirely.

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    Radical by Maajid Nawaz

    Radical

    By Maajid Nawaz, with Tom Bromley
    Read by David Linski
    10.8 hrs • 1/15/16 • Unabridged
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    6.7 hrs • 9/22/2015 • Unabridged

    The Islamic State is one of the most lethal and successful jihadist groups in modern history, surpassing even al-Qaeda. Thousands of its followers have marched across Syria and Iraq, subjugating millions, enslaving women, beheading captives, and daring anyone to stop them. Thousands more have spread terror beyond the Middle East under the Islamic State’s black flag. How did the Islamic State attract so many followers and conquer so much land? By being more ruthless, more apocalyptic, and more devoted to state-building than its competitors. The shrewd leaders of the Islamic State combined two of the most powerful yet contradictory ideas in Islam—the return of the Islamic Empire and the end of the world—into a mission and a message that shapes its strategy and inspires its army of zealous fighters. They have defied conventional thinking about how to wage wars and win recruits. Even if the Islamic State is defeated, jihadist terrorism will never be the same. Based almost entirely on primary sources in Arabic—including ancient religious texts and secret al-Qaeda and Islamic State letters that few have seen—William McCants’ The ISIS Apocalypse explores how religious fervor, strategic calculation, and doomsday prophecy shaped the Islamic State’s past and foreshadow its dark future.

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    The ISIS Apocalypse

    6.7 hrs • 9/22/15 • Unabridged
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    6.5 hrs • 8/18/2015 • Unabridged

    #1 bestselling author and radio host Glenn Beck exposes the real truth behind the roots of Islamic extremism in Muslim teachings in this sharply insightful handbook that debunks commonly held assumptions about Islam and the dream of a renewed caliphate. From the barbarians of ISIS to the terror tactics of al-Qaeda and its offshoots, to the impending threat of a nuclear Iran, those motivated by extreme fundamentalist Islamic faith have the power to endanger and kill millions. The conflict with them will not end until we face the truth about those who find their inspiration and justification in the religion itself. Drawing on quotes from the Koran and the hadith, as well as from leaders of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood, Glenn Beck seeks to expose the true origins of Islamic extremism as well as the deadly theological motivations behind these agencies of destruction. Using the same unique no-holds-barred style from his bestselling books Control and Conform, Glenn Beck offers straight facts and history about the fundamental beliefs that inspire so many to kill.

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    It IS about Islam

    6.5 hrs • 8/18/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 6.8 hrs • 3/10/2015 • Unabridged

    A year ago, few people had heard of ISIS. Today they are a major terrorist threat. Despite numerous warnings from intelligence services, ISIS’ rise to power has left countries around the world floundering for solutions. Today we face a threat that is more violent, powerful, and financially stronger than ever before. In this book, journalist Benjamin Hall provides insights by answering the basic questions we still don’t have the answers to: Who are they? Where did they come from? How have they become so successful, so quickly? How can they be stopped? By embedding himself behind enemy lines, Hall provides a riveting narrative based on firsthand experience and personal interviews. He goes beyond the vicious jihadis to reveal a generation of chaos and uncover a volatile region engulfed in turmoil. Hall reveals why ISIS is a problem that will define the Middle East—and the West—for decades to come.

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    Inside ISIS

    6.8 hrs • 3/10/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 10.9 hrs • 9/16/2014 • Unabridged

    An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girl. In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated from Dari as “dressed up like a boy”) is a third kind of child—a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom. The Underground Girls of Kabul is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents’ attempts to turn her back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults. At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against the violent backdrop of America’s longest war. Divided into four parts, the book follows those born as the unwanted sex in Afghanistan but who live as the socially favored gender through childhood and puberty, only to later be forced into marriage and childbirth. The Underground Girls of Kabul charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression everywhere.

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    The Underground Girls of Kabul

    10.9 hrs • 9/16/14 • Unabridged
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  7. 12.6 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    From the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, who finished writing this extraordinary book just days before her assassination, comes a groundbreaking vision of how to bridge the widening gap between the Islamic world and the West. Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October 2007, after eight years of exile, hopeful that she could be a catalyst for change. Upon a tumultuous reception, she survived a suicide-bomb attack that killed nearly 200 of her countrymen. But she continued to forge ahead, with more courage and conviction than ever, since she knew that time was running out—for the future of her nation, and for her life. In Reconciliation, Bhutto recounts in gripping detail her final months in Pakistan and offers a bold new agenda for how to stem the tide of Islamic radicalism and to rediscover the values of tolerance and justice that lay at the heart of her religion. After reading this book, it will become even clearer what the world has lost by her assassination.

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    Reconciliation

    12.6 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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  8. 8.9 hrs • 9/20/2011 • Unabridged

    Past and present civilizations fail for many reasons, but the number one predictor of a civilization’s survival is its sense of religion—or lack thereof. So argues First Things columnist David Goldman in How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam Is Dying Too). The strength of a civilization’s religion affects its purpose, its fertility rate, and ultimately, its fate, says Goldman—who then argues that, contrary to popular belief, Islamic countries are in the last throes of death while Christian America is in a position to flourish. Goldman goes on to say that America must embrace our exceptionalism and stop trying to save Muslim countries that are determined to destroy themselves. Original, stunning, and provocative, How Civilizations Die shows the power of religion to save—or doom—a society and why, if we stick to our principles, we will emerge as leader of another American century.

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    How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam Is Dying Too) by David Goldman
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  9. 7.3 hrs • 5/2/2011 • Unabridged

    Al-Qaeda doesn’t care about “Hope” and “Change.” The threat of terrorism in America, the Obama administration assures us, is contained and controlled. Attempted attacks like the Times Square bombing, the “underwear bombing” on a flight over Detroit, and the attack on a Christmas-tree-lighting ceremony in Oregon were all isolated plots that failed. In the words of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano, “The system worked.” Don’t believe it. In The Terrorist Next Door, investigative reporter Erick Stakelbeck exposes the staggering truth about our national security: the Obama administration is concealing and whitewashing the enormous terrorist threat growing right here within America’s borders.  If you believe terrorism is only a problem for other countries, Stakelbeck’s on-the-ground reporting will open your eyes. He has been inside America’s radical mosques, visited US-based Islamic enclaves, and learned about our enemies by going straight to the source—interviewing al-Qaeda–linked terrorists themselves. In this shocking book, Stakelbeck reveals: –How Islamic radicals have established separatist compounds and even jihadist training camps throughout rural America –That an overt disciple of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini now leads one of the largest mosques in America         –How mega-mosques aren’t just planned for Ground Zero—they’re being built in the heart of the Bible Belt as part of a plan for Islamic domination –Program to recruit Americans into terror groups –How the Obama administration’s beguiling counter-terrorism policies are increasing the threat of another 9/11 The Terrorist Next Door sounds the alarm on a growing threat to every American—one that the US government refuses to face honestly or even to name. As we struggle against a relentless and adaptable Islamist enemy that is committed to destroying our nation, we can’t say we weren’t warned.

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    The Terrorist Next Door by Erick Stakelbeck

    The Terrorist Next Door

    7.3 hrs • 5/2/11 • Unabridged
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  10. 17.5 hrs • 4/28/2009 • Unabridged

    With storytelling brio and evenhanded sympathy to all sides of the story, Ansary clarifies how the Muslim world views the history of the world and what they therefore make of our own version of events. Until about 1800, the West and the Islamic realm were like two adjacent, parallel universes, each assuming itself to be the center of the world while ignoring the other. As Europeans colonized the globe, the two world histories intersected, and the Western narrative drove the other one under. The West hardly noticed, but the Islamic world found the encounter profoundly disrupting. By revealing that parallel “other” narrative to the chapter we are living today, this book will help us to make sense of today’s world conflicts. Ansary traces the history of the Muslim world from pre-Mohammedan days through 9/11, introducing the people, events, and key turning points, not only in terms of what happened but also in terms of how those events were understood and interpreted.

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    Destiny Disrupted by Tamim Ansary

    Destiny Disrupted

    17.5 hrs • 4/28/09 • Unabridged
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  11. 6.8 hrs • 7/8/2008 • Unabridged

    In the 1920s, Hajj Amin-al-Husseini was the political and spiritual leader of the Palestinian Arabs. A vicious anti-Semite, he led numerous pogroms against Jewish settlers. During World War II, al-Husseini allied himself and his people with Hitler; he lived in Germany, met with Hitler, encouraged “the final solution,” and became close friends with Himmler and other Nazis. After the war, al-Husseini escaped (he would certainly have been convicted at Nuremberg for war crimes) and fled to Egypt. His standing only rose, and in Egypt he was instrumental in fomenting Nazi-style anti-Semitic propaganda there. He also became the mentor to a new generation of radical “Islamo-fascist” Arab leaders. Foremost among them: Yasser Arafat.

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    Icon of Evil

    6.8 hrs • 7/8/08 • Unabridged
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  12. 7.9 hrs • 12/26/2007 • Unabridged

    Zarah Ghahramani was born in Tehran in 1981, two years after Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran to establish the Islamic Republic. Her life changed suddenly in 2001 when, after having taken part in student demonstrations, she was arrested—literally snatched off the street by secret police—and charged with “inciting crimes against the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” While imprisoned in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, she faced brutal interrogation, her head was shaved, and she was beaten. After being released, she was forbidden to return to the university and soon realized that she had no future in her native land. Robert Hillman, an Australian writer, met and befriended Zarah in Iran in 2003 and helped her to escape to Australia, where she now has permanent residency. My Life as a Traitor is a beautifully written memoir of Zarah’s life in Iran, revealing the human face behind the turmoil of the modern Middle East.

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    My Life as a Traitor

    By Zarah Ghahramani, with Robert Hillman
    7.9 hrs • 12/26/07 • Unabridged
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  13. 18.1 hrs • 12/1/2007 • Unabridged

    If you think the next terrorist attacks are coming from the Middle East, think again. One of the world’s most respected experts on radical Islamism returns to alert Americans to the future course of Islamist extremism: the troubled regions of Chechnya. Bodansky draws on mountains of previously unseen intelligence from insider sources, offering the most comprehensive and startling portrait of the Chechenization phenomenon and what it means for the United States. As he reveals, the final years of US–Soviet relations left Chechnya as a fertile breeding ground for the mujahedin, and in the past decade a combination of militant native Chechen anti-Americans, anti-Russian agitators, and Middle Eastern jihadis have joined forces to help al Quaeda and the greater Islamist movement pursue its war against the West.

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    Chechen Jihad

    18.1 hrs • 12/1/07 • Unabridged
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  14. 9.6 hrs • 9/1/2007 • Unabridged

    Defying foreign government orders and interviewing terrorists face-to-face, a young American tours hostile lands to learn about Middle Eastern youth—and uncovers a subculture that defies every stereotype. Classrooms were never sufficient for Jared Cohen; he wanted to learn about global affairs by witnessing them firsthand. While studying on a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford, he took a crash course in Arabic, read voraciously on the history and culture of the Middle East, and in 2004 he embarked on the first of a series of incredible journeys to the Middle East. In an effort to try to understand the spread of radical Islamist violence, he focused his research on Muslim youth. The result is Children of Jihad, a portrait of paradox that probes much deeper than any journalist or pundit ever could. Written with candor and featuring dozens of eye-opening anecdotes, Cohen’s account begins in Lebanon, where he interviews Hezbollah members at, of all places, a McDonald’s. In Iran, he defies government threats and sneaks into underground parties, where bootleg liquor, Western music, and the Internet are all easy to access. His risky itinerary also takes him to a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, borderlands in Syria, the insurgency hotbed of Mosul, and other frontline locales. At each turn, he observes a culture at an uncanny crossroads: Bedouin shepherds with satellite dishes to provide Western TV shows, young women wearing garish makeup despite religious mandates, teenagers sending secret text messages and arranging illicit trysts. Gripping and daring, Children of Jihad shows us the future through the eyes of those who are shaping it.

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    Children of Jihad

    9.6 hrs • 9/1/07 • Unabridged
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  15. 8.0 hrs • 3/1/2007 • Unabridged

    The day after the World Trade Center was destroyed, Tamim Ansary sent an anguished e-mail to twenty friends discussing the attack from his perspective as an Afghan American. The message reached millions. Born to an Afghan father and American mother, Ansary grew up in the intimate world of Afghan family life. When he emigrated to San Francisco, he believed he’d left Afghan culture behind forever. But at the height of the Iranian Revolution, he took a harrowing journey through the Islamic world to rediscover his roots. In the years that followed, he struggled to unite his divided self and to find a place in his imagination where his Afghan and American identities might meet. Here in his own words is one man’s personal journey through two cultures in conflict.

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    West of Kabul, East of New York by Tamim Ansary

    West of Kabul, East of New York

    8.0 hrs • 3/1/07 • Unabridged
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  16. 7.1 hrs • 1/1/2007 • Unabridged

    Dina Temple-Raston uncovers a strange corner of the war on terror in Lackawanna, New York, home of the first homegrown al-Qaeda terrorist cell in America. Or was it? The “Lackawanna Six” were young men, born of Yemeni families long settled in upstate New York, who took a trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan and spent time in an al-Qaeda training camp—long before the specter of 9/11, before most people had even heard of Osama bin Laden, and before the existence of the Homeland Security Act. This is a story of preemptive imprisonment for an act of terrorism never committed, a terrorist cell that may not even have been a cell, and a mysterious al-Qaeda contact who was supposedly killed but whose remains were never found. The Jihad Next Door is a book that forces a reevaluation of the casualties of the war on terror.

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    The Jihad Next Door by Dina Temple-Raston

    The Jihad Next Door

    7.1 hrs • 1/1/07 • Unabridged
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