ISIS Helped Me Quit Smoking

H. A. Eugene

From the Medium article “Why I Joined ISIS”, which quotes a Twitter DM from an ISIS fighter:

It took time for ISIS until they implemented the law, but after having lectures about it and so on, there is no objection — with exception to those who smoke. It’s a little hard for them to suddenly quit smoking. But ISIS have been very good at helping them quit. —Abu Bakr al-Janabi

Smoking is a very difficult habit to break. I should know. I tried to quit twice. The physical symptoms, the self-recrimination you’ll feel at the first sign that you may not be as resolute as you previously thought, the childlike helplessness, the weakness of will…wait a minute…weren’t we talking about ISIS? Violent extremists?

Eric Hoffer’s terrific 1951 book The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements describes the extremist persona well. If memory serves (I read the book many years ago), this…

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