Posted by Wordsmith on 17 August, 2016 at 10:41 pm. 1 comment.


A recent trove of documents linked to the Islamic State reveals an increasingly pronounced phenomenon: Many of the young recruits to the extremist organization don’t know much about Islam.

In a report published this week, the Associated Press analyzed the entry form documents of some 4,030 foreign recruits who entered Syria to join the outfit between 2013 and 2014. Some 70 percent of the recruits were listed by their handlers as having only “basic” knowledge of Islamic law; only 5 percent were considered “advanced” students of Islam; just five recruits were found to have memorized the Koran.

The materials were obtained by a Syrian opposition website and shared with the AP. The news agency suggests that the Islamic State “preys on this religious ignorance” of its foreign recruits, “allowing extremists to impose a brand of Islam constructed to suit its goal of maximum territorial expansion and carnage as soon as recruits come under its sway.”

This reading is consistent with further investigations into the religiosity — or lack thereof — of many of the lone-wolf assailants who declared fealty to the Islamic State and carried out attacks in the past year in various cities in Europe. As an analysis put out by a Brussels-based think tank framed it, the current generation of jihadists is more likely to be “Islamized radicals” than “radical Islamists.” These are loners, misfits and socially maladjusted youths who are vulnerable to the puritanical promises of the Islamic State, and able to embrace its nihilistic agenda.

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