Editors’ note: In a new Brookings Essay, Will McCants profiled Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. The essay follows Baghdadi’s rise from an introverted soccer player and religious scholar to the leader of ISIS, a group so brutal that even al-Qaida deemed them too extreme. While McCants’s groundbreaking essay was well-received by many, the following post highlights some readers who were not so pleased with his account. We encourage readers to share their own reactions to the piece on Twitter using #BrookingsEssay.
Will McCants: Fans of the Islamic State didn’t take kindly to my portrayal of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as a murderous control freak. Shocker. It can’t possibly be true that he’s a massive jerk, so it must be my fault. I either:
5. Misrepresent Baghdadi just like “they” misrepresent Hitler (uhhhhhhhh…)
If you’re interested in learning more about the Islamic State, check out Will’s forthcoming book,
The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State