HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Understanding the motives behind the many Islamic extremist groups can be difficult to follow even for experts; who says the goal behind their violence is power, reclaiming Muslim land and creating an Islamic state.
"You need a score card frankly to keep up, even experts do," said HPU Professor of History Larry Simpson, who studies the Middle East and terrorism. "They are fighting over tactics, they are fighting over ultimate goals. We worry about them because we are their target, truth of the matter is they've actually killed more Muslims than they have Westerners."
Simpson says extremist believe they are called to be Holy warriors and are willing to use violence on any nation whose influence is standing in the way of creating an Islamic state. The latest group to emerge, ISIS, is using videos and photographs to show their terror to the world.
"They're introducing beheadings, crucifixions, rape, forced marriage … it’s pretty hard to think about what they won’t stoop to," said Simpson. "Al-Qaeda actually condemns ISIS for some of its tactics which is hard to imagine."
Many experts believe ISIS is now an immediate threat to the West.
"ISIS is so much bigger, so much more powerful, so much more financed than Al-Qaeda ever was," says terrorism expert Bill Cowan. "ISIS is extremely adept and using social networking to recruit people to their cause in fact not everyone who is in ISIS is a Muslim extremist."
With ISIS recruiting followers from beyond the region, Cowan believes action has to start now.
"We need to do whatever we can to start defeating ISIS," he said. "It's going to be a long time battle to do it; they’re much more powerful than Al-Qaeda and every bit as dedicated to striking the United States."