It is hard to open a newspaper, be on a social media platform or browse a news site without hearing reports of ISIS. While most students have heard of the recent occurrences in the Middle East, they may not know much, if anything, about ISIS. Here are the basic facts.
- ISIS stands for the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.”
- The underlying aim of ISIS is to create an Islamic caliphate.
- They recently released a third video, showing the beheading of another Western man. In the past few months, there have been two other videos with similar settings and the same situation.
- Barack Obama has promised to “degrade and destroy” the militant group, with the help of all allies of the United States.
- ISIS leaders have given a dark ultimatum to people of different religions in Iraq and Syria. They declared “Convert to Islam or die.”
- The CIA has concluded that ISIS has up to 31,000 fighters.
- According to CNN, there are currently 15,000 foreign fighters in ISIS from over 80 countries. This includes 2,000 from Western countries.
- About 40 countries have formed a coalition to support the fight against ISIS.
- The women of ISIS have a prominent presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. They offer advice to “sisters” who are looking to join ISIS, and record haunting details of their daily lives. Marriage to an ISIS fighter is considered necessary for all women who join the group.
- The Jihadist group, gaining a large group of followers in the Middle East, has been accused of abusing human rights and committing notorious acts in the past few months.
For a detailed outline of how ISIS works, check out this infographic from the New York Times.