The Muslim Brotherhood is winning seats in Jordan’s parliament. Many know terror groups as an existential threat because they commit acts of violence. However, they’re rooted in the Muslim Brotherhood dating back to the 1980’s in Egypt, where intellectuals like Sayyid Qutb began, writing, thinking and speaking out against the status quo. Osama Bin Laden was significantly influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood and thinkers such as Sayyid Qutb.

Sayyid Qutb and others represent a kind of logic and way of thinking. It’s popular and fruitful. Their war is a cultural one, although, it has inspired others to take up arms. It’s easy to get inspired if you read some of the early writing of Sayyid Qutb. He has a clear logic and cites the Quran and prominent religious leaders to lend a clear view. It’s an example of how anyone, no matter how intelligent, can choose to believe in whatever they like. Some people can talk themselves into or out of virtually anything. The early intellectual work of the Muslim Brotherhood reveals the power of thought leadership and the printed word.

Imagine if the intellectual heavyweights that began the Muslim Brotherhood existed today. Even though we experience heavy censorship on the net, it’s easy to get the word out. Their pitch is the same as ISIL’s or Al-Qaeda and equally compelling: that the world is the matrix, similarly rigged and set against you, and you must wake up. Once you wake up, there’s no turning back – because it’s not possible. The scales are tipped and done by evil doings. And, someone, must stand up and fight for the light, and that means violence in the beginning.

In my estimation, that’s the draw of ISIL and others. It’s as old as organized human thought, that you may feel alone and abandoned, but you are not so. The Divergent films and nearly any adventure have a similar narrative and people have a tough time telling fantasy from reality.