Book reviews: fresh insights on Islam and Isis

This post is by Anthony Sattin from Books | The Guardian

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Four new books give much-needed insight into a misunderstood religion, from history and philosophy to life under Isis

In the years since 9/11, there has been much talk about “the problem with Islam”. Part of the problem, obvious to anyone who follows the news, is that a very small number of people who like to blow up buildings and sever heads do so in the name of Islam. As if the link between violence and religion was now proven (it is not), the current occupant of the White House wishes to restrict the movement of certain Muslims into the US. If you have a historical view of Islam, you will understand the irony in this because a little more than 100 years ago, many Muslims were seen as sensual, mystical and exotic.

You won’t find much of those three qualities in The Way of the Strangers. Graeme Wood’s book does what ...