SHERMAN OAKS (CBSLA.com) — A San Fernando Valley lawmaker says defeating the Islamic State may be as easy as getting the terror network’s leader to eat lunch.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that the U.S. State Department should increase efforts to hire personnel to better understand Islamic law in order to ultimately defeat ISIS.
“To think that we can combat Islamic extremist terrorism without a single person at the State Department who’s memorized the Koran means that we don’t understand the mental world, the theological world that our potential adversaries live in,” said Sherman.
He went on to criticize what he described as the State Department’s strategy of showing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi perpetrating horrific acts like “personally executing a defenseless Yazidi” rather than attacking the group’s “theological world”.
“The fact is, [ISIS] will put that up on their web page as a recruitment tool,” said Sherman. “We need people who understand that if you can just get a picture of him eating a ham sandwich, that would undermine ISIS and its recruiting ability.
“That’s not the kind of knowledge you can get at Princeton,” he added.
Sherman called for the State Department to recruit experts who are just as well-versed on Islamic law as they are on the Vienna Conventions and other Western treaties.
“We have a Euro-centric body of knowledge in a very smart State Department,” he said.
Sherman’s comments were delivered ahead of testimony from State Dept. counterterrorism expert Justin Siberell on funding for diplomatic efforts to confront ISIS, al-Qaida and other terror groups.