The Islamic State Phenomenon

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It has been dominating world headlines for almost two years. Mention of its name – or the wide range of names by which it has been known – stirs up a range of responses and emotions.

The so-called Islamic State –or IS for short – first appeared on the international scene in 2014, seizing large amounts of territory in Syria and Iraq. Images of its black-clad members are often accompanied by reference to its fundamentalist interpretation of Sharia Law, its opposition to Western influence in Muslim world, and footage of its brutality, which includes beheadings and mass executions.

Its influence has since spread to other parts of the Middle East and North Africa, with a number of groups pledging allegiance to it. The IS phenomenon continues to grow, engaging in ever more battles with states and groups in the region, and at the same time raising serious questions about its motives, its intentions, and just how far it’s willing to go to achieve them.

In this the final edition of the Resources for Democracy podcast, we talk to John Turner, Assistant Professor at the Eastern Mediterranean University, who has an extensive research background in Political Islam, the Middle East, and the War on Terror.

Supplementary Resources

What ISIS Really Wants

Could ISIS Exist Without Islam?

ISIS Islamic Extremism | MILITARY AND WAR Channel (vid)

ISIS: ON THE FRONTLINE | BBC Documentary | MILITARY AND WAR Channel (vid)

Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2014: The Rise of ISIS & Sustained Online Recruitment

Counter Extremism Project, ISIS

Life Inside the ISIS Home Base of Raqqa, Syria (vid)

The Guardian. Why ISIS fights