Winner 2014

The Islamic State


Candid, on-camera interviews are the heart of this revealing, unsettling report by Medyan Dairieh, a filmmaker and VICE News journalist who managed to embed himself among ISIS fighters for three weeks in Iraq and Syria. He came away with video of true believers boasting of the infidels they’ve killed – or hope to – and declaring that they seldom have time for their families because they now have a “higher purpose.” Dairieh is seen zipping around Raqqa with a chatty, armed officer of Hisbah, a sort of morality cop, who stops to lecture street merchants and passersby about the evils of alcohol and the proper thickness a woman’s veil. He got footage of rallies and mosque services that play like jihadist revival meetings and of a father coaching his son, a boy no more than 10, about the Caliphate, jihad and martyrdom. Other interviews, perhaps the most useful, help explain why Sharia law, so harshly unforgiving by Western standards, has appeal to some beyond fear of retribution. It promises charity, freedom from want, to the obedient. For taking us inside ISIS and showing us its chilling absurdity and its hideous strength, The Islamic State receives a Peabody Award.


Executive Producers: Shane Smith, Eddy Moretti, Suroosh Alvi, Jason Mojica, Kevin Sutcliffe, Jim Czarnecki. Supervising Producers: Martina Veltroni, Yonni Usiskin. Producer / Director: Medyan Dairieh. Story Producers: Jonah Kaplan, Tim Clancy.