I will talk about how we can de-glorify and discredit the narrative and message of ISIS. I think we all agree on the need to provide counter narratives and counter messaging to the barbaric ones propagated by ISIS. But before we think about actions to generate and implement these counter narratives, first and foremost we need to have a deep understanding, going beyond conventional wisdom, of ISIS and its global appeal. Misreading and superficially analyzing the political, economic, social and above all ideological structural reasons behind the rise of ISIS will prevent us from taking advantage of a unique, unprecedented opportunity and an historic moment to produce alternative progressive ideas, and maybe even an alternative social order.
Ever since the emergence and expansion of ISIS, one question has been haunting me: How can a genocidal and an apocalyptic group that turns disgruntled people into beheading machines, that makes sexual slavery the new norm in the 21st century, manage to attract and recruit 38,000 foreign fighters from over one hundred different countries, and thus become the beacon of hope for some segments of excluded and marginalized — whether in reality or perceived — communities in the West and beyond?