Demystifying the Rise and Appeal of ISIS in Iraq: in conversation with "ISIS families"

Author(s): Constantin Gouvy

Type: Photograph

Department: Department of International Relations

Exhibit no: 12

Photograph Prize Winner

I met Maha, pictured here with her children, in Mosul during my research into the motivations of ISIS fighters for joining the organisation. The wife of a deceased ISIS militant, Maha was among 150 “ISIS families” who had then resettled in the city, after government forces retook it in 2017.

Maha was one of many with insights into the drivers of their relatives’ decision to join ISIS, emphasising for example the role of monetary incentives: “my husband was unemployed when ISIS seized Mosul. They said they would pay him $400 a month, so he joined for the money."