Education Resource

Meet the Journalist: James Harkin

Image from ISIS new media. Syria, 2014.

In only a year of its existence the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) has grown substantially amid the ruins of the Syrian conflict, renewing for a new generation the franchise of militant Islamic extremism.

Despite a formal expulsion from Al-Qaeda owing to the brutal and monopolistic tactics that it employs, and an assault on its positions led by anti-regime factions, ISIS still controls whole areas of northern Syria, and is setting about its own kind of "nation-building": laying the foundation for a puritanical, repressive, and highly militarized Islamic State.

ISIS feeds poor Syrians, bans illicit activities and protects property rights under its own kind of Sharia law. ISIS produces schoolbags and other merchandise for Syrian children, organizes festivals and entertainment, cares for and educates many of these children—all the time preparing them for jihad and holy war.

Journalist James Harkin investigates the growing influence of ISIS in Syria, and in particular its recruitment of children.