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PODCAST | ISIS, Revolutionary Romance and the Seduction of Social Media

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.

About Abdallah Schleifer

S. Abdallah Schleifer is editor-at-large of  Arab Media & Society. He is the former director of the Adham Center and now professor emeritus in journalism and mass communication at the American University in Cairo (AUC). Prior to joining the AUC faculty, Schleifer served as NBC News Cairo Bureau Chief and Middle East producer/reporter based in Beirut, and has covered the Middle East for American and Arab media for over 20 years. Schleifer is honorary and former chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Cairo.

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