Place of Origin: Iraq
Year of Origin: 2013
ISIS or Daesh is an extremist group formed in Iraq and Syria. Its major goal is to unite the world under a single caliphate. Some of its first members came from Al-Qaeda – an extremist group that don´t agree with attacks targeting Muslims.
The group considers infidels those ones that are not Sunnis, especially the Yezidi people that live in Northern Iraq.
Thousands of people all over the world have joined Daesh and many of them appear on propaganda videos produced by the group in order to attract more fighters. Recently, there was a shift in the group´s strategy: instead of calling people to join them in Iraq and Syria, the group started inciting people to perpetrate attacks in their own countries. Some of the recent attacks registered in Europe were inspired by Daesh´s ideology, such as the London Bridge attack.
Currently, at least 34 extremist groups have pledged allegiance to Daesh, expanding its reach in Africa, Middle East and Asia.
Daesh pays to media professionals some of the biggest salaries, which proves how much they value the material produced by them. Daesh has online magazines in different languages, short videos and even documentaries edited in a very professional manner. The group use songs and some editing effects to convince people that its cause is good for Muslims. In many videos the group uses images of happy children and foreigners from different countries telling the audience they have made the best decision of their lives moving to Iraq or Syria. These pieces can be found on the Internet and parents must also pay attention to videogames played by teenagers since some of them have been used by extremists for recruitment. The group also uses instant message applications such as Telegram, Whatsapp, Wickr, KiK, and YikYak to give instructions to new followers. Some recent reports also points out recruiters have used social media outlets to “field questions about joining” the group, a process which resembles an “online version of [a] religious seminar”, and online platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Ask.fm and Askbook.
As you can see, they produce a very persuasive narrative that must be confronted with facts:
- Daesh is the deadliest terrorist group in the world. Over 27.000 people were killed as a result of violent conflicts with the group in Syria and Iraq.
- In 2015, attacks coordinated and inspired by Daesh killed at least 6.000 in 11 countries. There were 609 bombings by Daesh in 2015.
- In August 2014, IS fighters abducted hundreds, possibly thousands, of Yezidi men, women and children who were fleeing the IS takeover from the Sinjar region, in the north-west of the country. Many of these women were kept as sexual slaves, including 12 year-old girls that were raped several times. An unknown number of Yezidi women remain in the arms of IS soldiers as sexual slaves, but it is believed that it is up to 3.000. The persecution against Yezidi people was recognized as genocide in 2015.
- There are dozens of mass graves in Syria and Iraq where Daesh buried the bodies of thousands of people.
- The group is known by its extreme violence against Christians, Yezidis and other minorities: some of them were crucified, others were beheaded and some of them were tortured in the square.
- In some territories controlled by Daesh, children have learned how to use knives to cut throats and how to wear explosive vests.
This is the real Daesh (we use this name to refer to this group because we don´t recognize it as a Muslim state).