How to Thwart ISIS Recruiting

A recent article in Business Insider , “Leaked ISIS Documents: The Majority of Recruits Know Nothing About Islam,” examined thousands of documents which revealed that 70% of ISIS recruits had just a “basic” knowledge of Shariah (the Islamic law), while 24% had “intermediate” knowledge, and 5% advanced. This seems to indicate that these recruits did not join ISIS because they were extreme jihadists with a passion to reorder government and society through violent struggle to eradicate obstacles to restoring Allah’s rule on Eath and defending the Muslim community, or Umma, against infidels and apostates.

So then what brought these young recruits to ISIS? The best former CIA officer Patrick Skinner could come up with was that most of these recruits are those who “yearned for a sense of belonging, notoriety, and excitement. We believe this provides further support of our blog commentary of 18 January (  We then wrote that … “jihadists are no different from other human beings: they too crave for a sense of calling to give their lives purpose and meaning as well as a sense of membership and belonging within which they feel understood and appreciated,” which are the fundamental universal human needs that are satisfied through spiritual leadership.

Thus these ISIS recruits are no different than recruits of any other criminal gang. If the broader society does not provide for upward mobility and healthy societal assimilation that provides the opportunity to pursue happiness and a sense of purpose in a loving community, they become prey to criminal elements and radicalism with disastrous consequences for both themselves  and innocent people who become their prey as they seek to satisfy these fundamental and universal human needs.

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