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Is religion the primary motivation and recruitment behind ISIS? Show more Show less
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The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is a terrorist militant organization seeking to establish itself as state and as a self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate. Under the ideology of Salafism, a conservative interpretation and movement of Sunni Islam, and describing its efforts as a jihad, many point to how religion is at the core of ISIS. However, many others argue that the Islamic State's primary motivations are more political, using religion as a veil to increase its legitimacy and as a recruitment strategy.

No, politics, not religion, is the primary factor. Show more Show less

ISIS uses religion as a medium for advancing its goals which are political at heart.
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Joining ISIS is often based on personal circumstances and motivations

Potential ISIS fighters are driven to being recruited and radicalized by personal motivations, not religion.
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The Argument

Many of these potential recruits may be initially drawn to joining ISIS due to religion, but the majority of these recruits are actually drawn to ISIS due to political and personal reasons. For one, many ISIS recruits from Iraq whom grew up during the United States occupation after 2003 under Nouri al-Maliki's sectarian Shia government. ISIS offered these young recruits an opportunity to channel that rage and humiliation to defend their dignity.[1] Furthermore, many of these recruits were compelled to join due to high level of Islamophobia they experienced in the West while also finding a sense of purpose fighting for their perception of Islam.[2] Underlining this point is that the many ISIS fighters are generally ignorant of Islam as a whole and only only committed to the brand of Islam ISIS promotes.[1] Ultimately, ISIS offered recruits an opportunity to feelings of empowerment against perceived injustice through violence. A phenomena primarily political and not religious.[3]

Counter arguments

These motivations are fueled by attacks against Islam as a whole, ranging from the 2003 invasion of Iraq to the everyday Islamophobia these recruits see on an everyday basis across the West. Joining ISIS is an opportunity to honor the duty to defend Islam.


[P1] Muslims are compelled to act due to reasons beyond just faith.

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Jul 2020 at 10:22 UTC

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