The Faces of ISIS Fighters
This is the third segment in this series I call: “Know Your Enemy.” The first two segments follow below after this post – enjoy.
Why join and fight with ISIS - Researchers grouped fighters into nine categories, based on the reasons they gave for joining ISIS for example – they are:
1. Status seekers: Intent on improving “their social standing” these people are driven primarily by money “and a certain recognition by others around them.”
2. Identity seekers: Prone to feeling isolated or alienated, these individuals “often feel like outsiders in their initial unfamiliar/unintelligible environment and seek to identify with another group.” Islam, for many of these provides “a pre-packaged transnational identity.”
3. Revenge seekers: They consider themselves part of a group that is being repressed by the West or someone else.
4. Redemption seekers: They joined ISIS because they believe it vindicates them, or ameliorates previous sinfulness.
5. Responsibility seekers: Basically, people who have joined or support ISIS because it provides some material or financial support for their family.
6. Thrill seekers: Joined ISIS for adventure.
7. Ideology seekers: These want to impose their view of Islam on others.
8. Justice seekers: They respond to what they perceive as injustice. The justice seekers’ ‘raison d’être’ ceases to exist once the perceived injustice stops,” the report says.
9. Death seekers: These people “have most probably suffered from a significant trauma/loss in their lives and consider death as the only way out with a reputation of martyr instead of someone who has committed suicide.”
The nine potential identities are not equally represented among the survey pool.
Reminder and Related:
American authorities this year have arrested nearly five dozen people in the United States for helping to support or plot with ISIS, more precisely from the NY Times here:
“56 Arrests in U.S. This Year Related to ISIS, GWU Study Says”
According to that study it is also the largest terrorist related arrests in the country in a single year since 9/11. ISIS recruits defy any single profile although they are younger than previous terrorism suspects, draw heavily on converts to Islam, and reflect increasingly prominent roles for women in the terrorist organization.
A demographic snapshot of the 71 individuals arrested on charges related to ISIS since March 2014, including 56 this year, emerged from a comprehensive review of social media accounts and legal documents of nearly 400 American sympathizers (George Washington University study). Those individuals ranged from hardened militants to teenage girls, to petty criminals, and college students – the diversity is staggering the report says.
Even before the recent attacks in Paris, at least three dozen people in the United States suspected of ties to ISIS were under heavy electronic or physical surveillance. Those under investigation typically had little terrorism expertise or support from a cell, making it even more difficult for the authorities to predict or detect who might carry out a strike.
Thanks for stopping by.