- Acceptable Targets:
- Islam as well as its apologists are held in contempt, so much so that several chapters open with controversial statements by real-life figures portraying it in a negative light. Though it should be noted that some Muslims are portrayed as sympathetic such as Besma, Ishmael and Mahmoud, if not indeed themselves victims of the circumstances they find themselves in.
- Likewise, the Chinese. See Paranoia Fuel below.
- Anvilicious: The book is, shall we say, not very subtle. Muslims bad, freedom good, m'kay? Having said that not all Muslims are bad, since Besma is a genuinely good person and Abdul being at least a Noble Bigot.
- Author Tract: In Kratman's own words in this interview."I think its more likely than not that Europe will at some point in time become as I portray the Caliphate. But I cant say its inevitable. As for the US turning into a nasty, genocidal dictatorship? Much of that depends on how we react to a really mass casualty, megadeath event on our soil, directed at us. As, by the way, I fully expect to happen."
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Besma due to being portrayed as a genuinely likable Muslim in a story that is otherwise very critical of Islam. She also happens to be a non-POV character that is only prominent during the first act.
- Harsher in Hindsight:
- The new Islamic Caliphate was indeed established by terrorists, and a large portion of its militants were recruited in Europe.
- Petra's sexual abuse is bad enough. It becomes worse when reading about the Yazidi Genocide by ISIS and the systematic exploitation of 7,000 Yazidi women and girls by the terrorist group in part because they were non-Muslim and ISIS believing they are justified in abusing them, the same reason with Petra for being a Christian.
- Related to the above, this book came out in April 2008 but in October of the same year, the world was shocked by the execution of a 13-year old Somalian girl by al-Shabaab militants on charges of adultery after being raped herself. While Petra isn't killed, she is auctioned off to slavery (which isn't much better).
- Muslims being placed in interment camps in response to terrorism with Islam being declared an "dangerous political movement that is only dishonestly a religion". While this didn't happen in America like in the book, it did happen in China when over one million Muslims were held in re-education camps and declared Islam a "contagious disease".
- Mecca is destroyed on September 11 in response to the nuclear attacks in the US as well as 9/11. In 2015, an crane accident happened in the Great Mosque killing over 111 people and injuring nearly 400. The really spooky part? It also happened in September 11 and the crane was owned by Bin Laden's family...
- In the book, frequent purges of Muslims by the US have become extremely common, with soldiers going as far as to kill those who are related to them, and taking joy in the deeds. With the recent surge in anti-Islamist attacks in the 2010s occurring in much of the world, with the most infamous being the Christchurch mosque massacres in New Zealand, where the perpetrator Brenton Tarrant killed 51 worshipers all while listening to "Serbia Strong", these passages go from disconcerting to outright prophetic and horrifying.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Ho Yay: Since Lee controls Ling via a microchip, any interaction with Hans would be this indirectly. However, Ling does genuinely love Hans.
- Moral Event Horizon:
- President Buckman obviously crosses this with his nuclear reprisal, killing countless at once and many more in the aftermath. Even taking the anti-Muslim bias into account, the narrative doesn't side with Buckman either.
- Rashid commits it in his first scene, no less when he kills Nazarene slaves for sports.
- Fudail flies over this line after raping Petra (who is just a child) and says she lead him on. By extension if his mother didn't cross it with her abuse of Petra earlier, she definitely did when she approved of his action.
- Narm: Buckman's election slogan is "We're gonna make those motherfuckers pay". Try to imagine taking it seriously in real life with the gratuitous profanity.
- Paranoia Fuel: The Chinese have perfected mind-controlled devices to has spread moles all over the world and monitor on others very closely, and they could be anywhere...
- Spiritual Antithesis: It could be considered this to The Handmaid's Tale: it focus on a fundamentalist Islamic regime taking over a Western society and imposing a No Woman's Land with much of it viewed through an female perspective. Interestingly, the United States in Caliphate also turns into a fascist empire in response to an ambiguous terrorist attack, somewhat similarly to the genesis of Handmaid's Gilead. Though the Imperial States of America stands in opposition against the titular Caliphate and is not as misogynistic or fanatically religious, it still isn't all that much better due to it brutal policies against other countries that don't play along with them.
YMMV / Caliphate