Rome: The US-led coalition of countries involved in airstrikes against Islamic State will never bomb the jihadist group out of existence, a Nobel peace prize winner warned on Friday.
Shirin Ebadi was one of Iran's first female judges. She was demoted after the 1979 Islamic revolution and went on to become the country's most prominent rights campaigner. She won the Nobel price in 2003 and was forced into exile in 2009.
After spending most of her adult life coping with and combating the impact a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam has had on herself, her family and her homeland, she is convinced that there is no military remedy to a problem that appears to intensify with every passing year.
In an interview with AFP, Ebadi said the experience of Afghanistan demonstrated that the US-led campaign aimed at ousting IS from the areas of Iraq and Syria it now controls would not solve anything.
"Look at all the years and all the money that have been put into fighting the Taliban," the 67-year-old said. "Have we eradicated them? Unfortunately not.
"ISIS is like a branch of the Taliban. It is not only a terrorist group, it is also an ideology and, like any ideology, you have to fight it at its roots. When you kill the roots it will not expand.
"For me those roots are two things -- illiteracy and a lack of social justice.
"Instead of throwing bombs at them, we should be throwing books at them and building schools: then you will see that fundamentalism will be eliminated."
Ebadi, in Rome for a conference of Nobel winners, also added her name to those who argue that the West must accept some responsiblity for a problem it is now confronting on multiple fronts: Iran's alleged development of nuclear weapons, IS, Boko Haram in Nigeria, chaos in Libya and terror attacks on the streets of western cities.
A history of meddling in the Middle East, the propping up of corrupt dictatorships and the mistreatment and discrimination faced by Muslims in Europe and North America are all part of a resentment-breeding cocktail, she argues.