The emergence of the Islamic State of Al Sham and Syria, aka ISIS, is a relatively recent phenomena that finds its roots in a complex web of causes.

Ultimately, ISIS is radical religious group, marked by violence, an unrelenting will for vengeance and persecution of minorities.

Its root cause is not only the dictatorship of the Assad regime and the extreme suffering it has inflicted on the Syrian people, but also the multitude of oppressive governments that pattern Syria’s regional neighbourhood .

In essence, extremism has bred extremism.

ISIS are acting in the name of the Muslim faith, and yet Muslim leaders across the world decry its claim to the Caliphate.

Unfortunately, however, ISIS has appealed to the youth that not only feel bitterly about the injustices taking place in the Middle East, but also face social alienation in European countries.

As such, ISIS have run a successful recruitment campaign that has resulted in thousands of European youth travelling to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS ranks.

The war against ISIS, therefore, is an intellectual one as well as a military one.

Whilst efforts must be made to stop ISIS on the ground, governments must also develop a sophisticated counter-narrative that avoids painting all Islamic groups with the same brush (a move that would certainly only aggravate the situation).  ISIS must be singled out from other Muslim groups and targeted as a common enemy.

The message is clear: this is a war of the world against ISIS.