How would you spend 10 days in the Islamic State? German journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer uses this unique opportunity to expose ISIS’ apocalyptic vision for the world and to document everyday life in the cities’ it controls. He finds a population terrified into submission by daily beheadings, enslavement, and torture, and an organisation unwavering in its commitment to its divine mission: to spread fear and violence throughout the world, no matter the cost.
“We say we don’t have borders, only front lines”
, Abu Qatadah al-Irhabi smiles as he tells Jürgen Todenhöfer that “one day we will conquer Europe! We don’t just want to do it, we will do it, we’re certain of that”
. To hear this from a fellow German upsets Jürgen, “I was not only shocked, I was extremely sad, because I knew so much about Abu Qatadah, I know how we was when he was young, and he was completely different”
Jürgen Todenhöfer gained unprecedented access to the so-called Islamic State. Offered a guarantee of security by the German IS propagandist Abu Qatadah, Jürgen and his son enter the territory of the caliphate to learn more about their ambitions, and the conditions within its lands. He is the first Western reporter to have entered the Islamic State and leave alive.
Jürgen is guided by Abu Qatadah, and the domineering and sinister masked driver, suspected to be the notorious British terrorist Jihadi John. At a mosque in Mosul Jürgen is confronted with the reality of Islamic State’s aims as the sermon begs Allah to “kill all the oppressors and the atheists. O Allah kill all the disbelievers and leave none of them”
. He is taken aback by the fervent support and admiration for this deadly message.
Off camera, one frontline fighter tells Jürgen that “you have a guarantee here in the Islamic State so you will survive here. But you will go back to Germany. We will come to Germany, we will search for you, we will find you, and we will kill you”
Scarred by his findings, Jürgen seeks the advice of renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf on how to defeat IS. Sheikh Hamza sees the fight as one for the hearts and minds of young, disaffected Muslims. “ISIS is an ideological movement, and so it’s ideas. And those ideas have to be combatted with ideas”
, Hamza explains, “we have to bombard the young people with ideas”
Inside IS reveals Islamic State’s terrifying dreams of world domination, and the vicious cruelty suffered by those living within its borders.