Institute panel discusses ISIS ideology

The Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies hosted a panel discussion on Feb. 20 that discussed the rise of the Islamic State—the militant group also known as ISIS—as a major force in the Middle East. 

Nigel Gibson, associate professor and director of Emerson’s honors program, and Yasser Munif, an assistant professor at the Institute, led the discussion in the Beard Room, attended by 19. 

The panel, entitled “Syria, Iraq, and the Islamic State: Myths and Realities,” explored strategies to combat ISIS and its ideology and the international ramifications of the complex situation in Iraq and Syria. 

Munif, whose expertise is in sociology, specializes in colonial history and racial identities, according to Emerson’s website. 

“Initially I didn’t think of it in the way that they described it, that we have indirectly been supporting ISIS by alienating some of the Iraqi and Syrian population,” said Song Park, a freshman journalism major who attended the event. 

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Munif and Gibson aimed to help students better understand the rapid ascendance of ISIS since last summer and to clear up the misconceptions that many still have about the group. 

“There is no international or military solution to stop ISIS,” Munif said at the event. “Only grassroots organizations within the region can do that.”