Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | isis | recruit | young | muslims

US Muslim Leaders Struggle to Keep ISIS Recruiters At Bay

By    |   Thursday, 19 Feb 2015 07:26 PM

American imams and other Islamic leaders here are having a tough time reaching young U.S. Muslims who fall under the spell of terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS), which keeps winning converts with media-savvy appeals despite efforts to counter the allure of violent extremism, The New York Times reports.

The "sense of urgency" felt by U.S. Muslim leaders is growing, the Times reports, as they struggle to compete with the relentless online recruiting campaign of ISIS aimed at young Muslims who feel estranged from the Western societies in which they live.

Community programs intended to counter violent extremism are multiplying and expanding, sometimes with help from law enforcement agencies and specialists in counter-recruitment, and over the objections of some Muslim leaders who view anti-Muslim bigotry and religious profiling as bigger problems, the Times reports.

Special: Find Out Everything You Need to Know About the Rise of ISIS — Click Here

Prevention is critical because "once young Muslims buy into the ideology … it's very hard to pry them loose," the Times reports, citing a Virginia imam, Mohamed Magid, who says he has persuaded several young men to reconsider plans to join ISIS.

Another Muslim activist trying to woo young people away from the likes of ISIS is Humera Khan, an MIT graduate who left business consulting to devote herself to countering violent extremism. Khan gives workshops on Internet safety to Muslim teens and millenials, and online jihadist recruiters are as much a focus of the seminars as online sexual predators and scam artists, the Times reports.

When it comes to young people who are vulnerable to ISIS's canny pairing of social media and violent videos, "There are no patterns, and that’s making it harder for everyone," Khan told the Times.

"They can come from every ethnic, socioeconomic group, any geographic area," she said. "But they are more often men than women, and they’re getting younger."

One such person, a 22-year-old computer programmer from Virginia identified only as Amir, told the Times, "The Islamic State once looked like eye candy to me."

Special: ISIS: Everything you need to know about the rise of the militant group — Click Here

It wasn't until an ISIS fighter beheaded an American aid worker, Peter Kassig, in November, that the romance began to wear off, said Amir, who now calls ISIS "deviants."

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American imams and other Islamic leaders here are having a tough time reaching young U.S. Muslims who fall under the spell of terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS), which keeps winning converts...
isis, recruit, young, muslims
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2015-26-19
Thursday, 19 Feb 2015 07:26 PM
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