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Reasons Why People Stay: A Look at the Islamic State’s Governance

On Wednesday, November 15th, the Reiff Center hosted Mara Revkin, a Yale Law graduate and PhD fellow who focuses her research on the civilians that live under ISIS rule.

Her research currently consists of interviews with citizens who lived under the Islamic State and figuring out their reasons for continuing to stay under their governance. These interview topics covered everything from their living situations to the ways that the laws changed throughout the time IS held power. However, her next step consists of a survey that will help to quantitatively measure her findings. She will be looking at citizens of Mosul, giving them an electronic survey that asks a variety of questions to determine the reasons why they chose to stay. She hypothesizes that many stayed because of force and/or their families chose to stay, but Ms. Revkin wants have more evidence of her findings before making any blanket statements. She discussed a lot about the transitions from a less strict ruling of the Islamic State to complete dictatorship, citing laws and acts instituted in the Islamic State during its time in Mosul.

Photo Courtesy of Pexels
Photo Courtesy of Pexels

After her presentation about the history of IS and her future plans for research, she opened the floor to questions from the audience. There were a variety of questions, ranging from how women were treated during this time to how children were affected. In fact, Ms. Revkin pointed out that many children under IS were imprisoned as they were¬†surrendering to Iraqi forces and are now facing charges. She especially has knowledge of this since she works on the United Nation’s research team on unaccompanied minors in Iraq.

We at the Reiff Center are so thankful to Ms. Revkin for coming out to CNU and sharing her research with us. To all of our readers, Happy Holidays and we’ll see you all next year!