Submarine Channel

Echoes of IS – #wesharethescars is a web documentary that consists of 12 captivating stories by people who have all been affected by Islamic State. These are people from very different backgrounds –parents, children, ex-fighters, refugees, Dutchmen– who bare their souls and share their life-changing experiences with the world for the first time.

A society that can come together around an understanding of a shared crisis, can change the world for the better

Naomi Klein


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Since announcing the caliphate in Iraq and in Syria, IS has had an appeal to young people all over the world. After a series of violent terrorist attacks worldwide, the Dutch (Muslim) community has been struggling with questions. What makes Muslims decide to go to Syria to fight for Islamic State while so many Syrian Muslims flee to Europe? What did they expect to find in Syria? How was life in the caliphate really? What does it mean to flee from your motherland? What’s it like to start a new life in a country like The Netherlands? Why and how does someone radicalize, and how can you tell? What impact does this have on a family? These are no multiple choice questions with only one possible answer. That’s why we’ve asked fifteen people to share their unique perspectives and provide us with some answers.

What do we want to achieve?

The need for effective and powerful counter-narratives online is urgent. These fifteen stories can serve as an antidote to the fairy tales manufactured by the propaganda machine of ISIS that continues to make beautiful promises to a susceptible group of people. But the reality of IS is radically different than what they want us to believe. It is not our aim to victimize anyone or to pass judgement on former IS fighters. We are not here to preach. We want to open up a dialogue. And these stories can do just that, because they ultimately affect everyone. Whether you are a Muslim or not.


Leo: “Fighting IS – How my son’s choice defines us”

Sameer: “I survived the bombs of Assad, and then IS came”

Abdel: “All my friends went to Syria, I couldn’t stay behind”

Hoessein: “Why did my 15-year-old son die for IS?”

Dyana: “How to live under IS and start all over again”

Saerie: “How to build trust and stop our children from going”

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