In an interview with Alhurra’s State Department Correspondent, Michel Ghandour, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel discussed the ideological battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIL) and the flow of foreign fighters.
Under Secretary Stengel stressed that combating the extremist messages is a vital pillar in the fight to defeat the group. He highlighted that the meeting of anti-ISIL coalition partners in Kuwait resulted in an agreement to combat the hateful ideology of ISIL since it is “an illegitimate ideology. It is neither a state nor Islamic. I am not an expert in Islam, but I certainly know that the prophet does not condone the killing of innocents. What we have seen is a prolific and horrible killing of innocent people by ISIL. In fact, they do not hide their crimes. They flaunt their crimes. And that is something we need people to realize and know.” He went on to say that ISIL “celebrates violence, celebrates killing, celebrates beheading, and celebrates the discrimination and abuse of women which is something that ISIL does every day.” Therefore, this ideology should be discredited “so that it no longer appeals to people and no longer appeals to young men.”
Under Secretary Stengel expressed the will to interrupt the flow of foreign fighters, and “the information part of that is to make sure that they realize that the illusion that ISIL is trying to create: that they are a state, that they are a functioning state” where there are jobs, schools, food, and shelter. “That is a myth and a lie,” he added. He concluded “We are trying to enlist foreign fighters who have come back and realize that ISIL was pulling the wool over their eyes.”