An ethnologist at Viadrina University in Frankfurt, Werner Schiffauer says that the victims of ISIL jihadist group propaganda are often people alienated from the society.
ISIL, notorious for its human rights abuses, multiple kidnappings and killings, has been reported to recruit thousands of westerners. The group’s intensive propaganda efforts on social networking websites especially target young people.
Schiffauer, who also heads the Council for Migration (RfM), a network of 79 researchers, elaborated that people going to Syria to join the are those who have become pariahs at home — from criminals to middle-class teenagers and Muslims.
“Many of them had been criminals before, they got into contact with the police or had been in prison before. What we have is young people who are alienated from the society, because they do not have chances as they are discriminated against. And there are also kids from middle-class families who are also alienated from the society, because they are dissatisfied with several things,” Schiffauer stated.
He added that Islamophobia might be another reason for alienation.
“If you are Muslim and you are discriminated against, you are alienated from society. And then you might get radicalized and might see in the Islamic State a viable option to express your opposition to society,” the ethnologist claimed.
Schiffauer underscored that some of those, who returned homed after fighting with the ISIL might pose a threat to society and have to be separated, adding that not all returnees from the ISIL are a threat.
“There are some who are simply traumatized, because their romantic expectations of being a warrior for a good case were not met. Others want to come back to normal life. And there are some…who really want to continue their fight. These are dangerous, I do not want to negate that, but I see their number is quite limited,” the expert said.
He noted that German Islamic community is very sensitive about the issue of possible radicalization of their youngsters and is putting great efforts to tackle the issue.
“They understand that if there is something — a suicide bomber or something — it is them, who will be paying the consequences, because the reaction of the German society will be quite considerable,”
In 2014, ISIL seized large areas in Iraq and Syria and proclaimed a caliphate. ISIL-affiliated groups operate in North Africa, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
According to the US National Counterterrorism Center estimates, at least 20,000 foreign fighters have joined ISIL so far.