How Islamic State commanders squeeze their hostages for every penny

The dirty business of kidnapping, and other IS money-making schemes

15 November 2014

9:00 AM

15 November 2014

9:00 AM

 Turkish/Syrian border

It was Abouday’s heavy metal T-shirt that started the trouble. Two jihadis at a checkpoint said the fire-breathing dragon showed he was a devil worshipper. In fact, he worshipped only Metallica, but he did not realise the danger he was in. People had scarcely heard of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria back then.

His mother, Faten, sat weeping at her kitchen table as she told me how she had begged him not to travel at night. After being seized at the checkpoint, Abouday was interrogated by a 20-year-old ‘emir’, or commander, a man the same age as him. Faten was told he would be sentenced to memorising the Koran. But that was 18 months ago. She has had no certain news of her son since.

‘Then the suffering started, the pain, the agony,’ she said, describing her waking nightmare. ‘He was moved. They did not say where. We kept sending people to ask for him. Every minute of every day, I wonder: what is Abouday doing now? What is he eating? Is he tied up? Is he able to sleep? Did they blindfold him? Are they torturing him? Does he think everyone has abandoned him?’

The real problem, Faten thought, was his video camera. It identified him as a ‘citizen journalist’, a democracy activist. Another citizen journalist told me about being held for months for ‘making statements about IS’ and ‘meeting foreign media’. He was starved, hung by his arms, and given electric shocks. One of his jailers, a Moroccan, delighted in beatings. He was lucky to get out. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of activists have vanished in IS jails.

At the start of her ordeal, Faten received a farcically large ransom demand, $10 million. The messenger seemed to be from the Islamic State but she couldn’t be sure. The negotiations did not proceed. On the whole, Syrians detained by IS are not held for ransom, but for other reasons, because after three years of war, families cannot pay. Foreigners are the main target of IS kidnapping for money.

‘Abu Mohammed’ has conducted several negotiations with IS kidnappers for western hostages. A small, neat man, he is a schoolteacher, a Muslim cleric and, improbably, commanded his own band of rebels. The second and third of these jobs, if not the first, gave him the credibility to talk to the jihadis.

We met in his family’s cramped flat above a beauty parlour in a Turkish border town. Though we were outside Syria, he would not use his real name to talk about the sheer venality of IS’s kidnapping operation. He was afraid of what they might do. Another rebel commander’s son had just been abducted from the town, his body found in a well.

In the negotiations, everything cost money. An emir had to travel from one town to another to meet him: $10,000. Proof of life video: $100,000. ‘They asked for $5,000 or $10,000 for every move they made. The emirs are making a living by such means.’ Talks were usually conducted by a broker, who might or might not be an IS member. ‘Everyone takes a cut,’ he told me. ‘The emir takes part of the ransom but the brokers ask for anything from $100,000 to $300,000.’

These were the sums involved when it was a western hostage, the total ransom being several million dollars. Abu Mohammed negotiated for two European journalists detained as spies. ‘IS didn’t believe that for a second,’ he said. ‘All they talked about was price. They didn’t care whether they were spies or not.’

He continued: ‘Whenever the broker agreed a figure, he’d say, “I need to consult with the emir.” Then he’d come back to me for more. They manipulated us, and they didn’t even trust each other. This game is very dangerous for the hostages and has a terrible effect on their families.’

Brokers asked for the ransom to be divided into several bags for easier skimming. One emir planned to cash out and leave for Europe. Abu Mohammed viewed IS as the cynical creation of former officials in Iraq. ‘The origin of the Islamic State is not Islamic at all,’ he said. ‘They adopted jihad as a means to restore the lost glory of the Ba’ath party.’ Now, in Syria, the group was dominated by opportunists who wanted to make money.

If so, the Syrian jihadi blend of criminality and fanaticism is perfectly represented by one of the most senior IS commanders, Saddam Jamal. I met his former bodyguard, ‘Abu Abdullah’ — another assumed name — who was furtive and terrified, having left the group and gone into hiding in Turkey. He spoke about Jamal’s widely known history as a drug smuggler before the uprising. Then he became the Free Syrian Army’s commander for eastern Syria before popping up in an Islamic State video, sporting a new beard and repudiating his former comrades.

‘He doesn’t really care if Islam spreads or not,’ said Abu Abdullah. ‘All he cares about is becoming more powerful. If an organisation stronger than IS emerges, he will join that. There are a lot like him.’ Jamal was still capable of extreme violence, he went on. He was one of those in charge during a notorious massacre of hundreds of the Shaitat tribe in Syria, in August.

The tribe stood in the way of the Islamic State acquiring a lucrative oil pipeline. Jamal ordered an elder to bring out his sons, said Abu Abdullah. ‘Starting with a 13-year-old boy, they lined up them according to height and beheaded them in that order. Then, they hung the boys’ heads on the gate outside.’

And Abu Abdullah said that was not the worst thing he saw while in the service of IS. ‘Another emir put a knife in his eight-year-old son’s hand and made him cut off a prisoner’s head… He said the son of an emir should learn early.’

IS, then, has its true believers. Another true believer was Abu Sumayyah al Britani, who proved his sincerity at the weekend by becoming the first British IS suicide bomber in Iraq. Real name Kabir Ahmed, he left a wife and three children behind in Derby to join the Islamic State. He drove a truck bomb into an Iraqi police convoy, killing a general and, as IS triumphantly announced, a number of Shia.

I wrote about him in The Spectator in July, ‘Everybody’s asking the emir to push their name up the list for martyrdom,’ he told me then. ‘We wish to leave this world and meet our lord.’ In that interview, Abu Sumayyah also warned Britain and the US not to interfere in the ‘Caliphate’: ‘9/11 was a warning shot… If you support our enemies against us, then you can expect these attacks. If the British government commits terror against our people… then you can expect attacks on your soil.’


That was a statement of al-Qa’eda’s traditional doctrine. There is a near enemy — the ‘godless’ regimes the jihadis are trying to overthrow, and a far enemy — the US and its allies, who support those regimes. If this is the Islamic State’s world view too, then the beheadings of American and British hostages are meant to deter the bombing now taking place. The alternative is that they are an attempt to goad the US and its allies into an intervention the jihadis believe would fail.

What, then, is the proportion of true believers to opportunists in the Islamic State? Are IS using religion as a cover for crime — or trying to pay for jihad through kidnapping? For hostages’ families, such distinctions matter little. For governments these are crucial questions. It is much easier to allow payments to simple criminals. Britain and the US, which both refuse to ‘fund terrorism’, have seen their hostages killed. France, Italy and Spain have paid up — and managed to bring people home.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 21.18.38

The debate over payments for hostages is, though, being overtaken by events. Kidnapping is certainly big business for the Islamic State, bringing in about $200 million last year, according to an Iraqi intelligence official. But the official described that as ‘baksheesh’ — a tip — compared with jihadis’ income from oil. They got $180 million a year from their biggest oil field, $150 million from the next most profitable, he said, as well as hundreds of millions in tax on the territory they controlled. They charged fees to mobile phone companies. They were even selling antiquities. Whoever IS are — Ba’athists, criminals, fanatics — and whatever the jihadis’ aims, they are not short of money to achieve them.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Paul Wood is a BBC correspondent covering Syria.

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Show comments
  • Dr. Heath

    Hostage-taking and the collection of ransom money, extortion, the enslavement and institutionalised rape of women, the almost ceaseless slaughter of anyone to hand as the ultimate young man’s sport, the establishment of mini-kingdoms with psychopaths as monarchs. There is absolutely nothing to distinguish this from the Mongol invasion of the Middle East, Russia or the Balkans in the thirteenth century.

    Believing that this has much to do with belief is lunacy. The lunacy that many will urge the West to adopt next is to believe in the possibility of negotiating the establishment of some new homeland for Syrian and Iraqi Sunni Arabs with the psychopaths on the other side of the table. To be sure, the Islamic State is a mass movement. A mass movement composed of the Ted Bundy’s of the world. We should remember every minute of the day what the authorities saw fit to do with him.

  • Rik

    Why are the oil fields and pipelines that fund these psychopaths still in operation?? these at least are fixed targets and highly vulnerable to air attack.They should be destroyed at once.
    Who is buying the oil?? The termination {with extreme prejudice} of some of those profiteering from the situation should reduce the enthusiasm of the rest.
    I understand the rescue of hostages would be difficult if not impossible,vengeance and deterrent are not, time for “Russian”style retaliation.

    • Bonkim

      Who is buying the oil or Opium or Heroin or blood diamonds or any other commodity that criminal gangs produce and distribute? If the price is right there will be takers for anything in the market from any source.

      Russia has its own problems.

      • Bumble Bee

        funny comment, since Arabs/Muslims like diamonds and drugs very very very much

        and nobody is forcing them to slaughter one another in the process, that’s just lazy whattaboutthery for useful idiots to believe and for dangerous traitors to spout

        • Bonkim

          Who cares what the Arabs get to – as long as they don’t come here in numbers.

          • Bumble Bee

            you must be living in 1961 or blind/slow/deaf or all of the above

          • Bonkim

            You don’t worry about matters outside your control. The UK Government is putting new measures to prevent extremists from coming here – who cares if the whole Mid-East blows out! If you have a workable alternative should speak to Specal Branch or MI5.

    • jack

      If we break their pipelines they will break the Saudi Pipelines and our piplines. Two can play the sabotage game, and if you live in a glass house it is best not to throw stones.

      • MartinC

        Rubbish, if they could attack the West (the “far enemy”) by damaging its oil supply lines they would already be doing so. And the theme of your remark, your suggestion that if we leave them be they will leave us and our hostages be is utterly risible. No they won’t.
        What Rik said is absolutely right. Fixed oil installations are, militarily speaking, a sitting duck. We can hit them very hard, in the wallet where it really hurts, extremely easily. We need to inform them that we want all our hostages back, alive and unharmed, immediately. Or else.

        • sevanclaig

          Not until 2016- 20 january 2017 to be precise- unfortunately.

  • Damaris Tighe

    This is pure evil. But even if opportunists have attached themselves to IS so they can live out their sadistic fantasies, we must remember the religion at the source of the mayhem. A religion which not only gives no clear civilised messages but positively sanctions viciousness ‘in context’ – the context always being elastic enough to include any situation where muslims are strong enough to make life hell for their neighbours.

    • Bonkim

      Hell for their neighbours and for themselves.

    • Chris Morriss

      This article (which I’ve only just seen), puts the horrifying reality in the spotlight much better than the wet output from the likes of Murray. The writer makes a convincing case that we are dealing with not just crazed ‘religious’ nutters here, but shrewd criminals stopping at nothing to achieve their ends.
      The poor Yazidis never stood a chance, being scorned by Muslims as ‘devil worshipers’. The truth is stranger than this. Their religion is much older than Islam or Christianity and is based on the idea that Satan repented and was forgiven by God and given the earth to oversee. They worship this entity as the Melek Taus, or ‘Peacock Angel’. They are known for attempting to live peacefully with their neighbours, but you can see why they are the victims of IS and others of that sort.

      • Damaris Tighe

        The Yazidi religion always reminds me of CSL’s space trilogy where the ruler of Tellus (Earth) is a fallen angel. But the Yazidis redeem their angel which gives a much better prospect for Earth! Of course, it’s a version of an old gnostic idea isn’t it?

        I’m afraid the Yazidis never stood a chance because muslims have, how shall I put it, a very un-nuanced approach to other religions.

        • Chris Morriss

          Yes, probably the first example I’ve seen of a gnostic religion based on an Abraham-derived root. (As opposed to a Persian Zoroastrian one, though I guess it’s a bit of a hybrid.)
          I think the words that the wise Terry Pratchett put into the mouth of one of his characters: “Don’t worship the gods, it only gives them ideas” always need keeping in mind.

  • Naes1984

    ISIS is simply illustrating the Mohammedian religion in its most devout form. They have done the us a favor by stripping away the thin veneer of civilization to expose the true ugly underbelly of the Near East. Until the West understands that our ancestors were correct in dealing with these people as cultural inferiors (they are) and applying a very heavy hand, until we stop trying to make distinctions without differences between these groups whether Sunni or Shia, until the West stops blaming itself for their irrational anger and stops pretending that the Muslim world has legitimate grievances (they don’t), until we stop seeing shades of gray where there are none, their march will continue and there will always be another ISIS. They see modern western humanism as weakness and who can dispute that at this point? Kurds and Jihadists fight in the streets of Berlin. Nothing is done. There are at least 50 no-go zones in Sweden where the authorities will not exert authority. Muslims attack Jews in France on a regular basis causing an exodus of thousands. The French say good riddance to a law-abiding minority. A British soldier is beheaded in broad daylight. We hear pap about “interfaith dialogue” and not overreacting and how peaceful and beautiful the beheader’s religion really is. You will never get rid of the Jihadist problem until you recognize that the problem is with Islam itself.

  • Bonkim

    That is how War-lords act. Islam is just a cover.

    • Naes1984

      Mohammed was a warlord like Atilla the Hun before him and like Genghis Khan after him. It’s little wonder why most of Genghis Khan’s successors like Tamerlane became Muslim.
      Islam: The religion by, of, and for the warlords.

      • Bonkim

        The Khans of Central Asia – Superpower of the late dark and early middle Ages. They were essentially Pagan and used Islam as a vehicle for their conquests across Asia and also in North Africa/Eastern Europe. More of a political Islam although later generations established Muslim dynasties in various parts of Asia.

        Seriously the brand of political Islam was fairly moderate and tolerant – the extreme/bigoted variety is of recent origin. In fact Islamic scholars, traders, and musicians/artists.architects contributed much to the world when Europe had not yet arrived on the world stage and European navigators and mathematicians/scientists learnt much from them in the Middle Ages, Europe even adopted the Islamic dress and veil for a time.

        Warfare and conquests were always brutal, rape and pillage the norm the world over at the time – so no angels in Islam or Christianity or any other variety – in China, India, Central Asia, Russia, Europe, all over. Our present sensibility to such brutality is a feature of post WW2 and the human rights and other civilizing influences that came about in the 20th century.

    • Bumble Bee


  • Bumble Bee

    The only answer is carpet bombing.
    There is no other choice.
    Question is: why is it taking so long?

    • steve314

      Is that what happens when a carpet accidentally intrudes into the background of your photo?

  • The so-called Ukrainian “separatists” are actually Russian Spetsnaz and Guards Airborne troops, which is why a Russian colonel, Igor Strelkov, is in command and not a Ukrainian.*

    These disguised Russian military units entered the Ukraine last February when the Ukrainian population, nationwide, revolted against the Communist government in Kiev,** the cause for the revolt being the weakened security apparatus within the nation, where most of the Ukrainian Army was in either Syria or Iraq, or preparing to enter Iraq from Turkey, pretending to be Muslim “Jihadists” (Islamic State). The Islamic State “Jihadists” wearing the black Ninja jumpsuits and balaclava masks are the Ukrainians,*** hiding their pale Caucasian/Slavic identities. Russian special forces posing as Ukrainian separatists are allied with the remnants of the Ukrainian security apparatus in the nation and are attempting to restore Communist “order”.

    Moscow & Allies tasked the West to create Islamic State in southern Turkey (using Ukrainian troops to augment the fake “Islamists”) in order to (1) close off Iraq’s oil to export, increasing the price of oil, allowing oil exporting Russia to maintain economic stability while she modernizes and increases her military forces; (2) continue spotlighting the chaos the West causes around the globe, though it’s actually Moscow & Allies causing the chaos via their Marxist puppets in Western capitals; thereby (3) decreasing the prominence of the West in the eyes of the world; and (4) further weaken the United States Armed Forces via never ending wars per Moscow & Allies’ tasked “War on Terror”; the United States Armed Forces will be re-deployed to Iraq.

    The fraudulent “collapse” of the USSR (and East Bloc) couldn’t have been pulled off until both political parties in the United States (and political parties elsewhere in the West) were co-opted by Moscow & Allies, which explains why verification of the “collapse” was never undertaken by the West, such verification being (1) a natural administrative procedure (since the USSR wasn’t occupied by Western military forces); and (2) necessary for the survival of the West. Recall President Reagan’s favorite phrase, “Trust, but verify”.

    Notice that not one political party in the West demanded verification of the collapse of the USSR, and the media failed to alert your attention to this fact, including the “alternative” media. When determining whether the “former” USSR is complying with arms control treaties, what does the United States do to confirm compliance? Right, the United States sends into the “former” USSR investigative teams to VERIFY compliance, yet when it’s the fate of the West that’s at stake should the collapse of the USSR be a ruse, what does the United States do to confirm the collapse? Nothing!

    It gets worse–the “freed” Soviets and West also never (1) de-Communized the Soviet Armed Forces of its Communist Party officer corps, which was 90% officered by Communist Party members; and (2) arrested and detained the 6-million vigilantes that assisted the Soviet Union’s Ministry of the Interior and police control the populations of the larger cities during the period of “Perestroika” (1986-1991)!

    There can be no collapse of the USSR (or East Bloc nations) without…

    Verification, De-Communization and De-mobilization.

    The West never verified the collapse of the USSR because no collapse occurred, since if a real collapse had occurred the West would have verified it, since the survival of the West depends on verification. Conversely, this proves that the political parties of the West were co-opted by Marxists long before the fraudulent collapse of the USSR, since the survival of the West depends on verification.

    The failed socialist inspired and controlled pan-European revolutions that swept the continent in 1848 thought Marxists and socialists a powerful lesson, that lesson being they couldn’t win overtly, so they adopted the tactic of infiltration of the West’s political parties/institutions.

    The above means that the so-called “War on Terror” is a USSR & Allies-tasked operation being carried out by the co-opted governments of the West, the purpose being to (1) destroy the prominence of the West in the eyes of the world, where the West is seen (i) invading nations without cause; (ii) causing chaos around the globe; and (iii) killing over one-million civilians and boasting of torture; (2) close off non-Russian supplies of oil for export, thereby increasing the price of oil, the higher price allowing oil exporting Russia to maintain economic stability while she modernizes and increases her military forces; (3) destroy the United States Armed Forces via the never-ending “War on Terror”; the ultimate purpose of the aforementioned to (4) bring about the demise of the United States in the world, opening up a political void to be filled by a new pan-national entity composed of Europe and Russia (replacing the European Union), a union “From the Atlantic to Vladivostok”; which will (5) see the end of NATO.

    Now you know why up until 2013 the “electorates” of Russia, Ukraine and Georgia had been “electing” for president only Soviet era Communist Party member Quislings, except for the first president of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, a true dissident who didn’t even last nine months in office before he was ousted in a coup, later said to have committed “suicide”. Zviad Gamsakhurdia was a failed test run to see if a non-Communist Party member president could be controlled.


    * https://spectator.com.au/features/9298982/the-frightening-face-of-russias-future/

    ** The revolt witnessed the destruction of hundreds of statues of Lenin throughout the Ukraine, statues that were supposed to have been destroyed back in 1991 if the collapse of the USSR were real and not the strategic ruse it is…


    In fact, it wasn’t until the national revolt in the Ukraine in February 2014 that any statues of the hated Lenin were destroyed throughout the 15 republics that made up the USSR…

    “Almost every town in Russia has a prominent statue of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, father of the October Revolution…”


    …and those statues that were taken down in Russia, and other republics that make up the USSR, are safely hidden in parks or museums, to be eventually returned to their former locations after the defeat of the West.

    The only statues to Lenin (and other Communist heroes) taken down in Russia were located in those areas where Western tourists visit the most. Those statues were carefully lifted and relocated, in the case of Moscow, to Fallen Monument Park…


    The same subterfuge is taking place in other republics that make up the USSR, where statues to Lenin (and Marx) taken down are hidden, not destroyed, in the case of Tallinn, Estonia, at the Maarjamaë Palace…


    …and in Lithuania, statues to Lenin and Marx are located at Grūtas Park, which also incredulously has, now get this, a Soviet theme park, replete with “…a mini-zoo and cafes, all containing relics of the Soviet era. On special occasions actors stage re-enactments of various Soviet-sponsored festivals”!…



    There can be no collapse of the USSR when thousands of statues to Lenin remain standing throughout Russia.

    Imagine a Nazi theme park in Allies’ occupied Germany, or statues to Hitler allowed to remain standing during the occupation! Who knew that the Soviet population loved Lenin, the man responsible for the one-party vanguard Communist dictatorship, which for 74-years persecuted and murdered the 94% of the Soviet population who weren’t Communist Party members?

    Now you know why up until 2013 the “electorates” of Russia, Ukraine and Georgia were only “electing” for president Soviet era vanguard Communist Party member Quislings, except for the first president of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, a true dissident who didn’t even last nine months in office before he was ousted in a coup, later said to have committed “suicide”. Zviad Gamsakhurdia was a failed test run to see if a non-Communist Party member president could be controlled.


    Those are professional soldiers cradling their weapons in the military stand down position, with trigger finger kept just outside the trigger guard.

  • greggf

    “Kidnapping is certainly big business for the IS, bringing in about $200 million last year, according to an Iraqi intelligence official.”

    I think you’ll find taking hostages and extorting ransoms is sanctioned in the K*r*n under its rules of war. They won’t and don’t accept it’s a dirty business – just business!
    Applying western norms to this traffic is simply inviting failure, ridicule and handing propaganda to IS!
    Do the BBC not realize this Paul?

    • jack

      Mohammad himself demanded ransom in exchange for captured prisoners. It was common practice in European wars also up until the (early 1700’s). Even the United states constitution itself recognizes some pretty barbaric customs. For example it authorizes the congress to issue “letters of Marque and Reprisal”. These letters grant to private companies and citizens (called privateers) who were delegated the state power to wage war, bomb cities, sink shipping, and even take hostages and demand ransom.

  • JohnCrichton89

    It’s the same model of Islam that their prophet practiced, it’s the same model that has been practiced by Muslims ever since…………. our forefathers went AROUND the middle East to set up trade routes with India and China for a bloomin good reason. Muslims were kidnapping and enslaving westerners, looting their caravans etc.
    Islam is a warring religion, always has been. The best you could argue is that it’s far to easy for people to misrepresent the religion………. so whenever some ‘Dick’ dastardly James Bond villain doesn’t have the funds for rent thug, he just declares ‘Jihad’ for his own private army.
    The rest of us shouldn’t have to live like this, either Islam has to change so we can live in peace or you can accept that we have to change and just get used to the terrorism.
    Ironically we, as a people have chosen the latter, Islamic terrorism has been accepted as part of British culture. The UK media adheres to a blanket ban on Muslim Blasphemy laws out of fear of violence, the Islamic violence and terrorism gets gradually worse and is forever played down by those charged with out protection.
    There are entire generations of Britons that have grown up with a ‘terror alert’ being the norm, and not just getting gradually worse, but expected to be their until well after they die………… absolutely disgusting.

    • Bonkim

      With such a long experience of the Mid-East and Islam going beck two centuries why is every generation in Britain having to learn from first principles and repeating the same mistake again and again.

      • FedUpIndian

        Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. The current generation of multi-culti Europeans will probably be remembered as traitors.

        • Bonkim

          Doubt if the Europeans would like to return to their early 20th century dark age – prefer the present freedoms from fascism and super-nationalism that brought two world wars and millions of deaths despite the EU being an inept monster that swallows their hard earned money.

          There are no traitors in Europe – infinite human rights – may be you are missing your corrupt and brutal police force that rape women prisoners.

          • FedUpIndian

            And may be you are OK with Pakistani grooming gangs raping young white girls?

          • Bonkim

            Sex crime is committed by naby including native Brits and Indians – India is the Rape-country of the world – free for all – read Indian media – so whilst Pakistani gangs are involved in a big way in Britain so are the others – only now a lot of the cases come to light – they were swept under the carpet in the past – No one is an angel and when opportunity arises taken advantage of. Pakistanis and Indians rape their own as well – don’t be biased for any side – all involved.

          • FedUpIndian

            Then you should have no problem giving me links to news articles about Hindu grooming gangs in the UK. Thanks in advance.

          • Martha van der Pol

            India has problems but when the numbers involved are contrasted to billions of population it is a far smaller problem than the UK has with muslims and yet were Hindus or anyone else to commit these acts of rape in the UK there really would be lynchings. Muslims no way! read this http://wp.me/p3aBMK-1L

          • Bonkim

            Stop being an idiot – Paedophilia widespread in Britain and Europe well before the Pakistanis moved to Rotherham and Sheffield. Unless you live on the moon – check the British media and the countless often sanctioned by powerful people that the Police are finding every day.

            For the Muslims yes – any loose moralled women and men are fair game but then go to countries such as Thailand, Philippines, India, etc, to see the depraved from the West hunting for sex with minors – and the Law is corrupt and buying sex and drugs cheap.

            Criminals make use of opportunities presented and the local social services and Police appear to be condoning much of these crimes in Rotherham and other parts of Britain for decades. Many in high places under investigation – so don’t get carried away by populist sentiments against Muslims – the vast majority no better or worse than the rest of the population. You will find the deviant in all ethnic and religious/cultural groups.

          • Bonkim

            Check with Citizens Advice in Southall or Leicester – better still Scotland Yard’s Special Branch – you sound desperately fed up – better still visit your homeland – easier and safer there.

  • jscumm

    it will work 100%, if you pay them by “nuclear rain”

  • Laguna Beach Fogey

    Another feeble media attempt to portray the ISIS problem as stemming from anything but Islam.

    It’s time to admit that the West has a very serious Muslim problem.

  • FedUpIndian

    Why doesn’t the author acknowledge that taking infidels as hostages and ransoming them was practiced by the proph* and permitted by their holy book? In this age of the Internet, it takes a few mouse clicks for people to find this information for themselves anyway. Those halcyon times when our journalists told us what to think and concealed inconvenient information are long gone.

  • steve314

    I think countries like, for example, France that pay these ransoms need to be publicly told exactly what they are doing: In exchange for a photo-op on the airport tarmac embracing one or two returning hostages they are contributing to, among other things, the rape and murder of Yazidi children.

    Many rebel fighters, it seems, are attracted to IS over other rebel groups because they pay well. The fighters who rape 15 year old Yazidi girls are paid to do so by, among other things, French hostage payments.

    If the french government thinks that the lives of five french citizens are worth more than the lives of thousands of local Syrians then fair enough. But they should at least have the guts to admit it openly and declare: “we fund genocide.”

  • kittydeer

    Just why is it that serious journalists are spending time talking about the motivation behind this barbaric group of thugs. All it is doing is adding some legitimacy to them. No newspaper to my knowledge ever pondered the motivation of say Hindley. It was never suggested that either her or her accomplice (I cannot remember his name) might have had a point. What is happening in Syria is evil, if God forbid it ever comes to our shores not one of us will waste a minute pondering their motivation. An evil cult is making inroads into one time Christian lands and the wasteland that is fast becoming Western Europe is too politically correct to call it as it is.

  • Ambientereal

    Wars have been always about power, and power means profiteering. The inclusion of “beliefs” in the issue, is about convincing the low people to go die for nothing. Please, wake up, religions where invented to convince the soldiers that die is not that bad, that in the afterlife everything will be OK. The most rewarding being Muhammad because arabs where the most feraful. That´s why the 72 Houris. Stop the lies, speak open, wars are fought to the benefit of few (sometimes it doesn´t matter who winns or losses (like here with ISIL) and many go unnecessarily to death. Read about old wars, or the french revolutio. Wars changed nothing in the poor people, unless death is being called a change. So for me it is pure PROFITEERING.

  • Mc

    “Is the Islamic State about faith – or profiteering?”
    This is the same question and with the same answer as, “Is communism about helping the oppressed or is it about gaining and maintaining absolute power through brutality?”

  • colchar

    If they want to leave this world and meet their lord? If they truly meant that they would just off themselves.

  • AJAX

    Because their Prophet took hostages (common practice in the Middle East in the 7th Century), he also authorized mass beheadings of prisoners of war (Source: Qur’an).

    This current mob of evil savages are doing it to:

    #1 Show they are the real deal to the Mohammedan world to get its respect.
    #2 Terrify potential military opponents.
    #3 Create team bonding amongst the savages doing it along the lines of a blood rite cult.
    #4 A minor source of revenue.

    SUPPORT & VOTE UKIP to stop their mass migration into our territory, vote of the Loblabcon Party for it to continue, with the inevitable consequences.

  • Gwangi

    It’s the French and other spineless cowards who have created the problem by paying ransoms in spite of their signed G8 agreement. Well, they break every EU law and swindle us blind through that, so why not do the same in the Middle East. Sure, it ends in the murder of Brits and Americans, but why should they care? Boff!

  • JohnCrichton89

    My God, it’s like some sort of joke to have stories like this still being published and gobbled up by people. Backward political reasoning to avoid the obvious fact.
    Trying to convince us that the machine gun wielding Muslim, kidnapping/raping/enslaving non-Muslims, is only in it for the money. Despite the fact that we have him on camera openly telling us it’s because of Islam.

    What about the suicide bombers ? Let me guess, they are in it for the fame. Right !?
    And the females who want to be second class citizens, essentially slaves ? They are in it for the…………. we’ll get back to that one.

    We know why they are doing it, they are telling us why. Often, if not always, quoting the direct passages from their Holy scripture that demand they do this and give them the authority to do this.
    It’s initial construct was for the money, sure. But now it’s enshrined in their religion, you don’t just have opportunists doing it for the money. Their ranks aren’t just consisting of career kidnappers. But actual human beings who, without this religion, would be otherwise good people. If not, doing anything other than holding some aid worker hostage/enslaving young school girls and selling them to dirty old men.

  • Arjuna Krishna-Das

    How is it that the US/Arabia can’t bomb the oilfields and take out their income?

    • Environmental hazard? Ask Obama’s EPA. LOL

  • Lamia

    In the latest video of ISIS butchery, apart from the coward Jihadi John who always hides behind a mask, his useful idiot mates have helpfully shown their faces. If our governments have any sense (big ‘if’) then they must make sure that all of those who have appeared online carrying out atrocities or boasting about them receive a bullet in the head. If they come back alive, then Phil Shiner, Gareth Pierce and co will be leeching off the public in order to defend these monsters.

  • Because they’re crazy?

  • Cincinnatus

    If so, the Syrian jihadi blend of criminality and fanaticism is
    perfectly represented by one of the most senior IS commanders, Saddam
    the “prophet” Mohammad.

  • JSC

    Cameron/Miliband/Clegg etc like to bleat on about the additional international power we have by being in the EU, so why doesn’t he and the rest of the europhiles force an EU-wide treatise on banning all funding of terrorism via ransom payments? I mean the EU can spend time regulating the curvature of bananas but can’t get their act together over something as fundamental as this?