In the 1960s, marginalized and disenchanted by the social order, veteran journalist Abdallah Schleifer joined a rebellious literary movement and became a social revolutionary. Decades later, he reflects on what attracted him to the far left movement.
In this excerpt from a longer conversation, Schleifer unpacks what draws marginalized youth to ISIS, articulating that just like the social revolutionary movements of the ’60s, the appeal of ISIS is not ideological, but rather existential. ISIS, he argues, offers a way for those on the fringes to transcend their marginalization, and express themselves violently. Ultimately, he says, much of ISIS’s power comes from their exceptional use of media to attract followers.