German author Jürgen Todenhöfer, who visited the Islamic State and interviewed fighters and victims over ten days in ISIS strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa, has now listed his seven "most powerful impressions" of the terror group.
Todenhöfer wrote about his experience within the Islamic State territory on his Facebook page on Monday; he had earlier shared titbits and photos from his "dangerous" journey.
The German, who claims to be the "first Western journalist to visit the Islamic State," had already warned in interviews that the ISIS is "more powerful and dangerous" than the West thinks and that the terror group has plans to conduct the 'largest religious cleansing' campaign in history.
He describes the current crisis in the Middle East under the Islamic State as the "biggest threat to world peace since the Cold War," adding the world is paying the price for former US President George Bush's attack on Iraq.
Here are the translated seven "most powerful impressions" the German author has penned down in his native language.
1. The West has underestimated the dimensions of the risk from the Islamic State
Describing ISIS as having the ability to "move mountains" and making the Al Qaeda look like a dwarf before it, Todenhöfer says that IS fighters are "much smarter" and "more dangerous" than what Western leaders think.
Todenhöfer said the enthusiasm and confidence he saw among the terror group was unparalleled from his experiences across war zones.
"The IS combatants are sure to be able to move mountains with their totalitarian beliefs and their demonstrative brutality," he writes.
He describes the Islamic State territory as being larger than the United Kingdom.
2. The Influx of new fighters to ISIS is growing everyday
While it is known that hundreds of jihadists from across the world have travelled to the Middle East to join the Islamic State, Todenhöfer says he saw as many as 100 new faces over two days in an IS camp.
"I spent two days in a shooting camp of IS close to the Turkish border. On both days, about 50 fighters from all over the world came... Not just young men, who had failed in their home countries.... Many successful, enthusiastic young people from the United States, England, Sweden, Russia, France, Germany, etc," he says.
3. Islamic State seems to be a functioning state like other totalitarian countries in the region
Todenhöfer says in his interviews that while people under the ISIS lived in fear, they appreciated the stability that their rule has brought to the conflict-torn region.
While he stresses that most Christians, Yazidis, Shiites and other communities had fled from the occupied territory, the Sunnis who remain are "unopposed" to the Islamic State, preferring it to the discrimination and oppression under the Maliki regime in Baghdad.
4. ISIS has plans for the 'largest religious cleansing' in history
ISIS wants to execute hundreds of millions of non-believers, with the exception of Jews and Christians who follow book-religions, as part of its religious cleansing after it "conquers" the world.
Todenhöfer describes the religious cleansing plan of the ISIS as follows – "All Shiites, Yazidi, Hindus, atheists and polytheists should die... Also all moderate Muslims who affirm democracy, should be killed. This also applies to - after a successful conquest - the democratically-minded Muslims in the Western world.... The only chance of this 'infidels' to escape death is voluntary repentance and voluntary conversion to 'True Islam'... Jews and Christians like book religions are tolerated, but must pay a fixed tax of protection by several hundred dollars per year."
5. ISIS is 'nuclear tsunami' despite having just 1 percent support among Muslims
Todenhöfer describes the ISIS as a "nuclear tsunami" though its brand of Islam enjoys support of just 1 percent of the world's Muslim population.
6. ISIS cannot be defeated with bombs and missiles
Todenhöfer says that the ISIS cannot be defeated by pounding cities such as Mosul with bombs, as there are only 5,000 fighters there; the bombs end up killing tens of thousands of civilians.
Referring to bombings as a 'terrorist breeding program', Todenhöfer says that the Islamic State itself is "the child of George W. Bush's illegal Iraq war."
Todenhöfer called for the role of 'moderate Sunni Arabs' as the only feasible solution to stop the ISIS.
7. Apart from IS fighters who return home, sympathisers are also terror threats
Todenhöfer states that while ISIS returnees pose a threat to their home countries, a "greater danger may come rather from sympathisers who may not have travelled to the Islamic State," citing recent attacks in various countries.