Fueling Terror: How Extremists Are Made
almost 2 years ago
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"...successful leaders need to sell the enterprise they envision for their group as honorable and noble. Both al Qaeda and ISIS deploy this strategy. A large part of their appeal to sympathizers is that they promote terror for the sake of a better society—one that harks back to the peaceful community that surrounded the prophet Mohammed. Last year University of Arizona journalism professor Shahira Fahmy carried out a systematic analysis of ISIS's propaganda and found that only about 5 percent depicts the kind of brutal violence typically seen on Western screens. The great majority features visions of an “idealistic caliphate,” which would unify all Muslims harmoniously. Moreover, a significant element of ISIS's success—one that makes it more threatening than al Qaeda—lies in the very fact that its leaders lay claim to statehood. In the minds of its acolytes at least, it has the means to try to make this utopian caliphate a reality. Crucially, however, the credibility and influence of leaders—especially those who promote conflict and violence—depend not only on what they say and do but also on their opponents' behavior."
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