One research team at the University of Chicago is on a mission to find out just that. What motivates Westerners to join ISIS and carry out such hate filled acts as the one we saw in Orlando over the weekend.
At U of C, this team says the effectiveness of the terrorism may lie with Hollywood hit movies.
Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism will release a study in about 4 to 6 months that explains how ISIS is recruiting Westerners by stealing a page out of Hollywood screenplay.
CPOST says Star Wars specifically has all the makings of a hero’s journey that speaks to even the most diabolical and dangerous.
In 1977 Star Wars hit the big screen and for nearly 40 years it has hardly faded into the galaxy far, far away. The story is so compelling, the characters so unforgettable and the production value was out of this world.
Fast forward to 2015 or so. Dr. Robert Pape at the U of C says the hero’s journey Luke Skywalker was on back then is being imitated even today. Not by a new generation of fans, but by ISIS.
Dr. Pape and his terrorist team of researchers say the comparison is extraordinary and undeniable. The 12 step hero’s journey Skywalker was on is being mirrored in an ISIS recruitment video. But the star here is not Skywalker, it's Abu Muslim, a Canadian born recruit who is no longer alive. He died a martyr. The same theory, Pape says applies to this weekend's shooter in Orlando.
"Luke Skywalker - he originally doesn't want to become the hero,” Pape says. “He wants to do his own thing. And yet because of the special qualities from within him, throughout the course of a whole movie, transforms into a hero."
“What (Orlando shooter) Mateen is, is somebody who wants to transform and become the hero that he can't be in his ordinary life. And to do that he's got to save somebody and he's trying to save ISIS."
It is the template for ISIS recruits. They pledge their loyalty to the Islamic State and want acknowledgment for their heinous acts against the West in hopes of being thoughts of as a hero in the eyes of ISIS. All so they are glorified in the end.
Dr. Pape says, just like Luke Skywalker.
“Mateen is carrying out the ISIS script point by point by point,” Dr. Pape says. “And the more we've learned about Mateen and the activities of his wife … it is just a textbook case of what ISIS is trying to produce."
Slick movies with strong characters even filled with emotion. Dr. Pape says his Hollywood comparison is not meant to criticize Star Wars creator George Lucas or any other action film.
"What we need to know is what's really inspiring ISIS attackers and we can't close our eyes and minds because we don't like the answer."