Fighting Terrorism: Recommendations of Arab Reformists

The question of how to fight Islamic terrorism preoccupies many Arab reformists who are working to denounce Islamist thought, to encourage independent and critical thinking, and to establish values of democracy and human rights in the Muslim world.


ISIS is a relatively new Salafist-jihadi Islamic terrorist organization. ISIS is part of a radical Islamist movement that was established around a decade ago as a branch of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. During the course of the fighting against the United States, ISIS established itself in the Sunni areas of western Iraq. During the civil war in Syria, ISIS expanded to Syrian territory as well. In June 2014, ISIS recorded impressive achievements, culminating in the takeover of the city of Mosul, Iraq, the takeover of Al-Raqqah in Syria, and the announcement of the establishment of the Caliphate State (the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria).

ISIS has branches (provinces) in the Sinai Peninsula, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, West Africa and elsewhere. These branches are inspired by ISIS. ISIS carries out terrorist attacks against the forces fighting against it, as well as terrorist attacks outside Syria and Iraq. In addition to fighting against its many enemies in Iraq and Syria, ISIS carries out terrorist attacks abroad, either directly by its operatives, or by instigating its supporters to carry out terrorist attacks in the countries where they live (“ISIS-inspired attacks”). ISIS has carried out several noteworthy attacks in cities in Western Europe, Turkey, the Sinai Peninsula, and Russia. In September 2014, the United States announced the establishment of a coalition for the war against ISIS. The US-led Coalition forces assist the Iraqi army and local forces in Syria through air support, sending experts, and providing weapons and training. In the wake of the war against ISIS, the organization has begun to lose its bases in Syria and Iraq, including the large cities of Mosul and Al-Raqqah.

ISIS places considerable emphasis on propaganda and has established extensive and professional media outlets that use Western tools and images to disseminate its messages. ISIS’s messages are disseminated around the world, trying to offer new meaning to isolated, alienated young Muslims.