Eli Lake: How Islamic is “Islamic Extremism”?

March 9, 2015

This week on Point of Inquiry, Josh Zepps talks to Eli Lake, a journalist with extensive experience covering international intelligence, diplomacy, and the recent conflicts in the Muslim world. With the Islamic State now eclipsing Al Qaeda as a prime flashpoint for terrorism, discussing and defining the ideology behind the violence is fraught with tension, as evidenced by the uproar over President Obama’s recent refusal to characterize “violent extremism” as “Islamic.”

Why do new recruits flock to the Islamic State? What are its real-world political goals? What are the dividing lines between the various strains of Islamic extremism? Lake, whose reporting has been featured in outlets such as The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Bloomberg View, and the Washington Times, lends badly-needed clarity to what are difficult and murky topics.