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The Killing Game – Martyrdom, Murder and the Lure of ISIS

Ferenț, Darius-Antoniu (2022), The Killing Game - Martyrdom, Murder and the Lure of ISIS, Intelligence Info, 2:1, 133-136, DOI: 10.58679/II45216Ferenț, Darius-Antoniu (2022), The Killing Game – Martyrdom, Murder and the Lure of ISIS, Intelligence Info, 2:1, 133-136, DOI: 10.58679/II45216, https://www.intelligenceinfo.org/the-killing-game-martyrdom-murder-and-the-lure-of-isis/



Book Review: Mark Bourrie (2016). ISIS – Game of death – Martyrs, assassinations and fascination, Corint Publishing House, Bucharest. Original book title: The Killing Game – Martyrdom, Murder and the Lure of ISIS.

Mark Bourrie’s work was also published in Romania, by the Corint Publishing House, in 2016. It is structured on 13 chapters and has 320 pages. The work falls within the scientific fields of security and intelligence studies. The theme addressed by Mark Bourrie is of global importance, as, nowadays, terrorism is a threat to human communities and states. The book is an up-to-date research on the issue and manifestation of terrorism in the world, with reference to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) terrorist organization and its activity.

Keywords: terrorism, security threat, jihadist terrorism, human security, online propaganda, transnational terrorist organization

ISIS – Jocul morții – Martiri, asasinate și fascinație


Recenzia cărții: Mark Bourrie (2016). ISIS – Jocul morții – Martiri, asasinate și fascinație, Editura Corint, București. Titlul original al cărții: The Killing Game – Martyrdom, Murder and the Lure of ISIS.

Lucrarea lui Mark Bourrie a fost publicată și în România, la Editura Corint, în anul 2016. Aceasta este structurată pe 13 capitole și conține un număr de 320 de pagini. Lucrarea se încadrează în domeniile științifice studii de securitate și studii de intelligence. Tema abordată de Mark Bourrie are o importanță globală, terorismul reprezentând, în zilele noastre, o amenințare la adresa comunităților umane și a statelor. Cartea reprezintă o cercetare de actualitate privind problematica și manifestarea terorismului în lume, cu referire la organizația teroristă Statul Islamic din Irak și Levant (ISIS) și activitatea sa.

Cuvinte cheie: terorism, amenințare de securitate, terorism jihadist, securitate umană, propagandă online, organizație teroristă transnațională


INTELLIGENCE INFO, Volumul 2, Numărul 1, Martie 2023, pp. 133-136
ISSN 2821 – 8159, ISSN – L 2821 – 8159, DOI: 10.58679/II45216
URL: https://www.intelligenceinfo.org/the-killing-game-martyrdom-murder-and-the-lure-of-isis/
© 2022 Darius-Antoniu Ferenț. Responsabilitatea conținutului, interpretărilor și opiniilor exprimate revine exclusiv autorilor.


The Killing Game – Martyrdom, Murder and the Lure of ISIS

Doctoral Candidate Darius-Antoniu Ferenț



The author of the book captures the origins of the organization, the ideology, the sources of income of ISIS, and in an exhaustive and impressive analytical manner, how ISIS propaganda and recruitment work, how Western societies, and especially the Canadian one, are vulnerable to Jihadist messages, so that young people end up abandoning their studies, friends, family and joining a criminal organization focused on causing terror. These young people are radicalized and used on the front or for the purpose of online propaganda, using the language of their country of origin. After ISIS gets what it needs from them, they are exterminated or sent to the front lines to die for their absurd cause. Few have joined ISIS and managed to return home to their countries of origin. And those who returned face the problem of their reintegration into a normal world, being seen and rightly labeled as terrorists or criminals. We can say that ISIS is the death of consciousness, the loss of human essence, because whoever chooses ISIS renounces their human status, loses their conscience, moral norms becoming irrelevant for them.

The title of the work is suggestive, reflecting the content of the book – ISIS – The Game of Death – Martyrs, assassinations and fascination. What ISIS actually does is a dangerous game for those who choose to play it. Through propaganda, ISIS outlines the rules of the game (accepting the ideology of the organization, renouncing the values ​​of the country of origin, the family, everything related to the past and starting a new life with the Jihadists, directing the recruit to the areas controlled by ISIS and dedicating them to the purpose of ISIS). Once having entered the game, the player is under ISIS’s control. They become a certain victim in the game of death. The player is used on the front lines or for online propaganda purposes, using the language of their country of origin. They must also draw other players into ISIS’s actions. No one gets out of this game alive. The players end their in-game activity when ISIS wants them to. After ISIS gets what it needs from them, they are exterminated or sent to the front lines to die for the organization. Players become martyrs. All those who said yes to the organization chose their fate as martyrs for the absurd cause of ISIS. The game itself is fascinating, through the complexity of the actions taken by ISIS, the recruitment methods used, as well as the tragedy of the people who chose this game of death. The murders are one way ISIS makes its violence and propaganda known to the public. The ISIS killer shocks through brutality, hatred, indoctrination.

Strengths of the work:

1). The work captures the origins of the organization, the ISIS ideology, their sources of income, how the organization acts in the Middle East (expansion of the controlled territories, manipulation of the native population to join ISIS, the fight to take control over the main cities, the war tactics of ISIS – fighting in small units, which enables strong bonds between the fighters, the use of assassin troops in order to instill fear and social disorder in the attacked localities, taking civilian and military hostages, the execution of Iraqi army officers, taken prisoners by ISIS). Further, outside this geopolitical space, the organization also expands its actions globally (through propaganda, recruiters, Jihadists using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment).

2). The author provides an exhaustive analysis of how ISIS propaganda works.

3). The author captures the vulnerability of young people to ISIS’s propaganda messages and films: young people eager for action and raised on violent video games and computer-generated special effects.

4). Mentioning the main ideas that constitute the essence of ISIS propaganda.

5). The author captures the factors that make the Canadian society vulnerable to the radical messages promoted by ISIS: young people from troubled families, a Muslim minority. The Internet is a launch platform for the ISIS propaganda, as it is widely used in the West, especially by young people.


By reading this complex work which gets to the very core of the terrorist phenomenon represented by ISIS/Daesh, we can offer a series of definitions for the organization to understand the complexity of the terrorist phenomenon described by the author, as well as the coagulation of ISIS, which, for a long period of time, was a complex network/entity:

a). Firstly, ISIS is a terrorist organization.

b). ISIS was a criminal network that made money from the illegal sale of oil, engaged in human trafficking, illegal trafficking of valuables from archaeological sites in the occupied areas, and arms trafficking.

c). ISIS was a paramilitary group that managed to train fighters in training camps and mustered highly trained assassin units.

As a result of this reading, we state that ISIS was the most complex form of terrorism, by the means used, which the author described so well, and by the way it used technology and human vulnerabilities to achieve its goals. ISIS truly is a great threat to humanity, to societies across the globe, whether we are talking about Muslims or those who share other religious beliefs.

Follow Darius-Antoniu Ferenț:
Darius-Antoniu Ferenț este doctorand la Școala doctorală „Relații internaționale și studii de securitate”, de la Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai din Cluj-Napoca. Este Asistent Responsabil cu protecția datelor cu caracter personal (Data Protection Officer Assistant) la Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai. Este specialist în Politici de utilizare a cookie-urilor. În anul 2022 a publicat cartea „Ghid de securitate cibernetică”, la Editura Casa Cărții de Știință, Cluj-Napoca. În anul 2021 a publicat cartea „Apărarea anti-rachetă și România euroatlantică”, la Editura Casa Cărții de Știință. În anul 2021 a absolvit programul de masterat Managementul securității în societatea contemporană, de la Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai. A absolvit în anul 2019 specializarea Studii de Securitate, Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai. Preocupările sale științifice se înscriu în aria tematică a securității militare, tehnologiei informației și securității cibernetice.

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