THE FORMATION OF ISIS FROM AL QAIDA AND ITS MAIN DIFFERENCES
Many question how what we known today as “ISIS” developed and whether it has been a continuation of the famously known Al- Qaida terrorist group.
Al- Qaida had its origins during the Cold War when a thinker of the Egyptian branch of the Muslim brotherhood, known as Sayyid Qutb, said that it needed a vanguard, something known to be small and limited, to establish a Muslim awakening. When ISIS would be created in the 21st century it would claim to be a state, to be a massive army and not anymore a small vanguard or an organisation limited to specific people. The Al- Qaida organisation would limit its participation to specific members of specific nations and with specific aims and goals, not anyone who wanted to join could enter this specific organisation.
This would be different with ISIS. ISIS is called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and its members are not only recruited from Iraq and Syria, they have Iraqi’s and Syrians but it is something much larger. ISIS would being something new, it would begin to recruit foreign fighters coming from two main sources; some from the Middle East and the Islamic world, recruiting Arab- Muslims as well as non Arab- Muslims. Then it had another stream that was recruiting from Europe; this stream consisted of two main demographics; firstly young men, mainly second generation Muslims born in Europe whose parents worked really hard to come to Europe and have a better life, also for their own kids and their future.
The second generation Muslims were the sons and daughters of the immigrants who lived not such privileged lives in not so privileged parts of European cities. These girls and boys would also have episodes of petty crime and would have discovered their faith much later in life, mainly resorted to when in prison. This demographic of people can be called “reborn muslims”, and these are the people that would join ISIS. The third generation would be too- well integrated in Europe and would therefore not resort to the ISIS organisation or to the extreme Muslim faith.
The second demographic of Europeans that would join ISIS would be those that converted to Islam; when they would do so, mainly as a personal decision, for a few number of converts, conversion meant that you were isolated from your family, and they would therefore look for new families or social bonds, which would be found in this new Islamic community. Few of them would seek a new family in ISIS, and for them, they would demonstrate their loyalty to the new faith or family by joining a new Islamic states; that is phenomenon of ISIS. With these people ISIS would create a mass- mobilisation army throughout the entire army, not just limited to the Middle Eastern region but affecting all parts of the world such as the United States and Europe.
ISIS would also introduce a new form of terrorism based on extreme religious ideals and not nationalistic ideals anymore, which were the ideals that fuelled previous terrorist groups such as Al- Qaida.