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You Blow Yourself Up

By Anne Speckhard

Another video clip in the Breaking the ISIS Brand–ISIS Cadres Counter-Narrative Project, You Blow Yourself Up” produced by ICSVE’s Zack Baddorf is based on Anne Speckhard’s and Ahmet S. Yayla’s interview of Syrian ISIS defector, Abu Abdullah. In this video clip Abu Abdullah speaks about how ISIS brainwashed youth into accepting suicide missions without really understanding who they were killing or why. Disillusioned with the group, Abu Abdullah tells the viewer that ISIS is unjust and “they wronged civilians. They wronged people. Always Muslims.” He warns his listeners not to be deceived, not to be lured into the group he from which he risked his life to escape. The transcript of the video clip is below and the video can be viewed here .

Title:  You Blow Yourself Up

0.03     There are military camps where it mostly just young suicide bombers.

0.10     They go through a short training.

0:16     They indoctrinate them with jihadi thinking about eternal virgins in heaven.

0:19     [They promise] them a castle in heaven.

0:22     And then they send them in booby-trapped cars.

0:28     When they start their teaching, the kids know basically nothing,

0:33     so whatever the Sheikh tells him, he accepts it as the truth.

0:43     They tried to convince me to become a suicide bomber.


Former ISIS Soldier

0:51     But I wouldn’t do it.

0:53     [ISIS would say those people are] unbelievers, rapists, do terrible things, drink alcohol.

0:56     They would make those people look as unbelievers to him [the Cub],

1:02     Then, they give him the car [bomb] and convince him to blow himself up [to kill them].

1:11     They would go without really knowing [who they are killing].

1:14     They are Muslims, of course.

1:16     You just blow yourself up.

1:19     They convinced [the suicide bombers] that [their victims] aren’t applying Allah’s laws.

1:31     Don’t be lured into joining the Islamic State.

1:36     I swear to Allah, those Muslims are killing other Muslims.

1:40     Words are not the same as reality.  I really lived with them.

1:45     It is unjust. They wronged civilians.  They wronged people.  Always Muslims.

1:53     Beheading Muslims!

1:54     I lived with ISIS for six to seven months,

1:59     I swear I only saw them beheading Muslims.

2:02     They didn’t behead any [Shiites of Syria] or anyone else.

2:08     They are only beheading Muslims and creating hatred toward Islam.

2:18     They treated the civilians unjustly.  They infringed on the rights of civilians.

2:27     Be careful brothers. Don’t be lured into the Islamic State.

2:31     They are not righteous.

2:33     The Islamic State is just a name, not the reality.

2:40     The Truth Behind the Islamic State

2:43     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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