Why Do Foreigners Join ISIS?

On February 25th, the FBI arrested 3 men from New York, suspected of trying to join ISIS and encourage domestic terrorism A day later, it was revealed that ISIS’s most famous video host, Jihadi John, was a recruited from the UK

So how many foreign fighters have joined ISIS, and why? Well, recent reports estimate that more than 20,000 foreign fighters have joined ISIS and other extremist groups in Iraq and Syria The National Counterterrorism Center reports that approximately 5,000 of these fighters are from Western countries, including about 150 Americans The Soufan Group, a global intelligence service, reports that as of 2014, 700 recruits came from France, 400 from the United Kingdom, and more than 800 came from Russia However, most foreign fighters hail from the middle east and north africa A majority of fighters are male, between the ages of 18 and 29

Many are recent converts to Islam Much research has been devoted as to WHY so many fighters defect to join ISIS The Director for the International Center for the Study of Radicalization says that some people seek adventure, while others are “ideologically motivated” He also notes that ISIS is “less selective than a lot of other groups” about who can join their ranks The US Council on Foreign Relations has attributed ISIS’s popularity to their image as a force for justice against Western capitalism

Coupled with ISIS’s highly visible and savvy recruiting techniques, there has been an explosion in foreign fighters joining ISIS The terrorist organization has extensive regional influence via social media, and highly stylized propaganda videos specifically targeting foreigners A 2014 preview for a pro-jihadi documentary features English narration over Hollywood-style special effects The UN has suggested immediate action must be taken to dissuade young people from supporting terrorism A resolution adopted in 2014 urged all nations to enact laws preventing the formation, planning and travel of terrorist groups

To learn more about the crazy ways ISIS is recruiting, watch our video about why women are joining ISIS As always, thanks for watching and please subscribe to TestTube

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