In the Name of God

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This book, written by Paula Jolin, was extremely heartbreaking, as we see a village fall into violence and terror as an extremist religious group first recruits members and then kills anyone they wish. The deepest sadness comes from the well-illustrated idea that recruits may not understand what they are doing until it is far too late. We also see that the community turns against itself, and friends murder one another simply because of they are told. This is incredibly pertinent to current events, as we deal with extreme terror groups that use strong recruiting tactics and ultimately kill many people.

The title of the novel, “In the Name of God,” is closely related to the saying that many people say Islamic extremists yell before committing an act of terror (Allahu Akbar, which means God is great and implies that the violence was done in God’s name). However, doing something in the name of God, as it occurs in this book and in real life, doesn’t truly mean God sanctions it, and it certainly doesn’t mean that other people within the same religion believe the same thing. Thus, the violence we see done in the name of God is just violence that extremists and journalists alike are blaming on a religion.

I created this piece to represent the violence committed by the extremist group in this novel. I specifically depicted the scene in which the severed head of a villager is found on the bridge, as a public display of the group’s violence. I found that this scene really stuck in my head, as it was very gruesome, but also because it seemed so twisted that anyone could think that violence like that is condoned by God, who is supposed to be all-loving and merciful. I made a print for this piece, so I carved my design into a styrofoam printing block and then I rolled it with paint, and then I printed it on paper. The printing process was actually much harder than I expected, as I had to make sure the images appeared and the layers were even. The process also limited my colors, which I think helped me make a clearer, simpler, and more stark image. Above the print, I wrote “bi-issim allahu,” which means “in the name of God.”

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