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Combat value driven extremism through counter engagement and not just narrative

12 February 2017


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ISIS is a classical state revolution, and to call it just a terror organisation is delusional, anthropologist, Scott Atran, said on the day one of the World Government Summit 2017 in Dubai.

ISIS is a classical state revolution, and to call it just a terror organisation is delusional, anthropologist, Scott Atran, said on the day one of the World Government Summit 2017 in Dubai.

He added that ISIS follows the trajectory of a classic revolution with well-educated founding leaders and a shift to a phase of state building, where women have now become an important element.

“ISIS is not about brainwashing, but about appealing to people’s need for transcendence and their urge for self-sacrifice for the common good,” said Atran. “So how do we combat value driven violent extremism? We develop counter engagement and not just a counter-narrative.”

Atran added that the wave of extremism and populist movements now sweeping across the East and West are because of people’s innate need to commit to something greater than material.

Quoting George Orwell’s review Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Atran added, “Hilter was offering his people power and glory, he understood human nature and his people’s need for an intermittent sense of self-sacrifice and transcendence.”