Christian Chronicle

Choose your superlative, but The Atlantic’s deep dive on Islamic State radicalization is a must read

By Bobby Ross Jr. | GetReligion

The Twitterverse has spoken: Emma Green’s in-depth Atlantic piece detailing “How Two Mississippi College Students Fell in Love and Decided to Join a Terrorist Group” is “amazing journalism.”

It’s “complex & fascinating.” It’s “phenomenal reporting … highlighting the amazing work FBI does to fight online radicalization.” It’s a “must read.”

As Tony the Tiger might say, it’s grrrrreat!

What can I add to all of the above?

Not a whole lot, except for this: Amen!

The story hooks the reader from the beginning as it describes the couple’s plans to travel to Turkey and then Syria. At the end of the first section comes the kicker — the sudden twist around which the rest of this magnificent, heartbreaking story revolves.

The reporting is deep and nuanced — enhanced by crucial interviews with friends and relatives and close inspections of court records and federal investigators’ practices.

Green, a Godbeat specialist, blends a religion writer’s sensitivity to the complexities of faith with an investigative reporter’s dedication to pulling back every layer of the onion to uncover the truth.

Read the full column.

• • •

All of my GetReligion columns (May 2017):

God, guns and Russia: Washington Post fails to note crucial detail about summit on persecuted Christians. Published May 1.

Does religious freedom extend to churches stopping women from breastfeeding during services? Published May 2.

Choose your superlative, but The Atlantic’s deep dive on Islamic State radicalization is a must read. Published May 4.

How to cover religious liberty: Quote both sides — and skip the scare quotes. Published May 5.

Songs? Prayers? Scriptures? Moving story on funeral for 15-year-old shot by police lacks religious details. Published May 8.

Hey AP, your slanted headline on Texas adoption story is why so many distrust mainstream press. Published May 9.

Show me the money: Coverage of Texas adoption bill improving, but questions remain. Published May 11.

A powerful, important read: Wall Street Journal on the ‘epochal shift’ of Christians from the Middle East. Published May 12.

Hire more religion reporters — yes! — and other takeaways from that helpful podcast on the Godbeat. Published May 15.

In-depth NPR analysis of Indiana voucher program mostly gets education, but not religion. Published May 16.

When prayer precedes a couple adopting seven kids — all at once — there might be a holy ghost. Published May 18.

Early 2020 contender? Dream #NeverTrump candidate makes political waves with a new book. Published May 19.

Hey Dallas Morning News, feel free to connect the dots on pastor’s links to Texas attorney general. Published May 22.

Manchester attack: more terrorism tied to a radical Muslim, more fears of an anti-Muslim backlash. Published May 23.

Key voices still missing from stories on pregnant teen banned from Christian school’s graduation. Published May 25.

Barring any evidence to the contrary, let’s assume that Yahoo! ‘News’ is meant to be commentary. Published May 26.

Note to New York Daily News: Believe it or not, baptism is a common occurrence in churches. Published May 30.

How religion figures in the story of Turkey invalidating NBA center Enes Kanter’s passport. Published May 31.

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