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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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ISIS fighters are motivated by wider political battles between Saudi Arabia and the West

The reasons people join are typified by the ongoing political battles between Saudi Arabia and the West.
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The Argument

The Islamic State's drive primarily based on its opposition to Western involvement in Saudi Arabia and the greater Middle East. With its large oil reserves, Saudi Arabia has kept a close relationship with the West. The political nature of ISIS is also based on the effects of the United States March 2003 invasion of Iraq. The US occupational authority dissolved the Sunni majority Iraqi military by decree in May, leaving thousands of Sunni officers unemployed, alienated, and enraged.[1] The Islamic State's political nature is also reflected in their goal of generating hostility between Muslim populations across the world and the broader communities they live in.[2] This strategy is what some analysts have compared to Maoist revolutionary insurgency doctrine, forcing Islamic communities across the globe to pick a side and become more inclined to join the struggle.[3]

Counter arguments

ISIS believes that Saudi Arabia's relationship with the West has tainted and theologically warped the wider Salafi/Wahhab movement, something that must restored at all costs.[4]


[P1] Many Muslims believe there has been a disastrous history of Western involvement in the Middle East.

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Jul 2020 at 10:23 UTC

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