A young American journalist, Anna Therese Day, sat down with HuffPost Live's Ahmed Shihab-Eldin to shed some light on her experience "dining" with self-described radical jihadists and their take on Syria.
Day's interview subjects are members of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams, commonly referred to as ISIS, that shares close ties to al Qaeda. Though not originally from Syria, they, like the rebels, are fighting against the Assad regime. And as Day notes in her Newsweek story "Dining with Al Qaeda," the U.S. fears ISIS is gaining power in the process of trying to bring down the Assad regime.
Describing the ISIS members as her "peers" -- under 30, Western-educated, fluent English speakers -- Day noted, "their politics are not dissimilar from people who are critical Americans... They were pointing to human rights violations that the United States has undoubtedly committed throughout the region."
She continued, "The departure is this devout belief that in some ways dehumanizes other people. So the fact that they are using tactics that will kill civilians... that they know will do that. They're not taking that into consideration because they don't consider those civilians human beings because they're of a different faith."
Despite their differences, Day was able to gain the trust of these men and learn their stories. To hear more, watch the full segment above.