Despite ISIS’s claims of ruling over a Islamic “caliphate” in line with Sharia law, a large number of the group’s fighters joined for reasons having little to do with religion, according to a defector from the group that
The Daily Beast’s Michael Weiss interviewed in Istanbul, Turkey.Instead, people are joining the organization because they are desperate for money and are struggling to find a way to survive in Syria, where four years of civil war have decimated the economy.
The ISIS defector, who goes by the pseudonym Abu Khaled, spoke with Weiss about the group’s internal dynamics, and what it was like to live under ISIS’s rule.
According to Abu Khaled, a large number of people are joining ISIS because they need money. After joining the militants, people are paid in US dollars instead of Syrian liras. Abu Khaled said that ISIS also runs its own currency exchanges.
“I knew a mason who worked construction. He used to get 1,000 lira per day. That’s nothing," Abu Khaled told Weiss. "Now he’s joined ISIS and gets 35,000 lira—$100 for himself, $50 for his wife, $35 for his kids. He makes $600 to $700 per month. He gave up masonry. He’s just a fighter now, but he joined for the income.”
“There is no work, so you have to join them in order to live,” al-Jassem told the Post. "So many local people have joined them. They were pushed into Daesh by hunger."
According to Newsweek, there is a widening gap in living standards for those under ISIS rule. Members of the organization have access to food, free medical care, and desirable housing. In contrast, people who aren’t ISIS members suffer under a barely functioning economy with rapidly increasing prices.
They must be a pretty pathetic army. Says a lot about the pathetic Iraqi and Syrian armies. No wonder Israel can whip them all in about six days.