Started as an al Qaeda splinter group. Also known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State (IS). ISIS aims to create an Islamic state called a caliphate across Iraq, Syria and beyond. The group is implementing Sharia Law, rooted in eighth century Islam, to establish a society that mirrors the region’s ancient past.
ISIS is known for killing dozens of people at a time and carrying out public executions, crucifixions and other acts.
ISIS goes global: 90 attacks in 21 countries have killed nearly 1,400 people
ISIS uses modern tools like social media to promote reactionary politics and religious fundamentalism. Fighters are destroying holy sites and valuable antiquities even as their leaders propagate a return to the early days of Islam.
In 2014, ISIS controlled more than 34,000 square miles in Syria and Iraq, from the Mediterranean coast to south of Baghdad. At the end of 2016, ISIS territory had shrunk to about 23,320 square miles, according to IHS Jane’s.
In 2015, ISIS was believed to be holding 3,500 people as slaves, according to a United Nations report. Most of the enslaved were women and children from the Yazidi community, but some were from other ethnic and religious minority communities.
ISIS’s revenue comes from oil production and smuggling, taxes, ransoms from kidnappings, selling stolen artifacts, extortion and controlling crops.
The ideology of radical Islam has found a centralized home in the Middle East, in the form of the Islamic State, or Caliphate.
But the Islamic State isn’t content with merely existing in the Middle East. They intend to reconquer much of the old territory controlled by previous Caliphates during the Middle Ages, stretching from Spain and North Africa, through the entire Mideast and the Balkans region of Europe, all the way to India and central Asia.
Nor will they be satisfied with reestablishing the old Caliphate boundaries either, as their ultimate goal is to conquer and subjugate the entire world. They have vowed to conquer America and raise their black flag over our White House, and they will be bringing their Sharia Law with them.
Many people have dismissed the threats posed by the Islamic State, saying they don’t have the capability to strike us in our homeland. But they have always been determined to wreak havoc here in America and are well-funded in their mission.
With the widespread use of social media as a propaganda tool by radical jihadis, they have been able to recruit and radicalize numerous Muslims in Western countries, notably Britain and the US.is interactive map shows.