What's Behind the Warped Theology and Origin of ISIS Terrorists?

Posted Feb. 25, 2015

MP3 Interview with Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism project at the Institute for Policy Studies, conducted by Scott Harris


Much of the world’s attention continues to be focused on the savage violence carried out by ISIS in Iraq, Syria and more recently in Libya. In an act that appeared to lend urgency to President Obama’s call for Congress to formally authorize the ongoing U.S. war against ISIS, a report on Feb. 24 stated Islamic State militants had abducted as many as 90 Assyrian Christians, including women and children, after overrunning several small villages in northeast Syria. Earlier, an ISIS video released on Feb. 15 showed 21 Egyptian Christians being beheaded by ISIS fighters on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in Libya.

With thousands of foreign recruits from around the world flocking to Syria to join ISIS, a report that three teenagers from London may have traveled to the Turkish-Syrian border with the goal of joining ISIS, moved distraught parents to publicly beg for them to come home. Americans and Europeans already on edge about the threat of terrorism from ISIS, were recently warned about possible future attacks targeting shopping malls in the U.S., Canada and Britain. The terrorist group issuing the threat, Al-Shabab of Somalia, was responsible for the 2013 Westgate mall massacre in Nairobi, Kenya that killed 68.

With many people trying to understand the motivation for the senseless violence committed by ISIS, a recent controversial article published in the Atlantic Magazine titled, "What ISIS Really Wants," has received much attention for its focus on the terrorist group’s apocalyptic world view. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Phyllis Bennis, director of the New Internationalism project at the Institute for Policy Studies, who examines the warped theology that motivates ISIS acts of terror and explains why she opposes President Obama’s call for Congressional war authorization.

Phyllis Bennis' forthcoming book is titled, “Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror, A Primer.” For more information on the Institute for Policy Studies, visit ips-dc.org.

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