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Dreams of the Islamic State​

By Anne Speckhard, Ph.D.

ICSVE is proud to announce the release of our newest video in the Breaking the ISIS Brand–ISIS Cadres Counter-Narrative Project. “Dreams of the Islamic State” produced by ICSVE’s Zack Baddorf is based on Anne Speckhard’s and Ahmed Yayla’s interview in Turkey of Syrian ISIS defector, Ibn Mesud.  Ibn Mesud was a child soldier in ISIS, serving in the Cubs of the Caliphate. In this video clip he speaks about the hypocrisy inside ISIS–of guards and ISIS cadres having one set of rules for themselves and another harsh set for the civilians they rule. His story includes posttraumatic grief and emotional suffering as a result of taking part in beheadings and other crimes against humanity. The transcript of the video clip is below and the video can be viewed

(or if Youtube takes it down mistaking it for ISIS propaganda, it’s here).

Title:  Dreams of the Islamic State

0.03 They talked to us about the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him).

0.06     About the Sahaba [the Prophet’s Companions].

0:13     And how every Muslim should do jihad.

0.18     IBN MESUD

Former ISIS Child Soldier

But whatever is halal [allowed] for them is haram [forbidden] for others.

0:24     Like tobacco.

0:27     [The ISIS soldiers] smoke together.

0:30     But when they see someone smoking, they don’t advise him to stop.

0:38     They just want to punish him.

0:40     They ‘forget’ that they smoke too.

0:44     Shaving, for example,

0:46     ISIS soldiers would clean and groom their beards,

0.49     but it is not allowed for civilians to do that.

0.55     People were afraid of them.

0.58     But you can’t complain.

1:01     Women were forced to be covered. It was enforced.

1:08     If they saw a woman dressed in blue or red,

1:15     they would whip her and hit her because they want her to be all in black.

1:21     They should have talked to the woman. They should have talked to her husband.

1:29     Instead they would see a woman and beat her in front of her husband.

1:35     They would say: ‘You are unbelievers and apostates.’

1:39     Their own wives showed their faces

1:43     and his beard is trimmed.

1:46     What is allowed for him, is forbidden for others.

1:53     They forced people who come to the market [to watch a man’s punishment].

2:03     They accused the man of committing a crime. He swore on the Quran saying, ‘I am innocent.’

2:14     ‘I swear to Allah, I am innocent.’

2:18     He shot him with his gun.  Praise be to Allah, he didn’t die.

2:26     He shot him again and he still didn’t die.

2:31     Finally, he took out a knife and beheaded him.

2:40     I felt scared at the sight of this man

2:48     and how his parents were crying.

2:51     It was a terribly sad sight.

2:57     [ISIS] wants to make people believe that they are the most powerful and righteous.

3:07     When they [won a battle], they brought the soldiers’ heads

3:16     and displayed them on top of their cars.

3:19     They drove around the neighborhood to show off while shooting bullets in the air.

3:25     Just to terrorize people and make them think that they are the righteous ones.

3:29     People were scared. Some of them couldn’t look because it was a really terrible sight.

3:44     There was a lot of oppression.

3:55     I didn’t tell my parents that I was involved in fighting.

3:59     I told them that I was a guard at a warehouse.

4:02     I missed my Mom, my siblings and my Dad. I wanted to go back home.

4:11     I was about 17.

4:15     I told them that my Dad is disabled.

4:17     I had to quit school to financially support my brothers and sisters.

4:21     I joined ISIS for the pay and food, because there were no jobs anymore.

4:26     They forced us to stay.

4:30     But I told the Sheikh that I needed to go on leave because my [disabled] father wasn’t feeling well.

4:36     I shaved and I changed my clothes so I could defect.

4:43     I regret [joining ISIS].

4:45     Because they are not righteous.

4:48     [I regret seeing] the beheading and other crimes they committed against people.

4:56     I cried.

4:59     I cried because of all the people [who have been killed by ISIS] and our friends.

5:08     I imagine myself still stuck in Syria and that they are beheading me.

5:20     I feel scared. I cry a little bit.

5:25     I ask Allah to protect me from the devil.

5:28     The Truth Behind the Islamic State

5:31     Sponsored by the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism

Anne Speckhard, Ph.D. is Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University in the School of Medicine and Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE) where she heads the Breaking the ISIS Brand—ISIS Defectors Interviews Project. She is the author of: Talking to Terrorists, Bride of ISIS and coauthor of ISIS Defectors: Inside Stories of the Terrorist Caliphate; Undercover Jihadi; and Warrior Princess. Dr. Speckhard has interviewed nearly 500 terrorists, their family members and supporters in various parts of the world including Gaza, West Bank, Chechnya, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and many countries in Europe. In 2007, she was responsible for designing the psychological and Islamic challenge aspects of the Detainee Rehabilitation Program in Iraq to be applied to 20,000 + detainees and 800 juveniles. She is a sought after counterterrorism experts and has consulted to NATO, OSCE, foreign governments and to the U.S. Senate & House, Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Homeland Security, Health & Human Services, CIA and FBI and CNN, BBC, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, CTV, and in Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, London Times and many other publications. Her publications are found here:

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