How to protect children from recruiters of Islamic State

How to protect children from recruiters of Islamic State

Six weeks ago the story of a student of the Philosophy Department of MSU, Varvara Karaulova, made a stir in Russia. The girl planned to join the terrorist organization Islamic State, but was arrested on the Turkish-Syrian border. After that the Public Opinion Foundation conducted a poll among Russians, trying to find out what makes young people become terrorists. 29% explained this by broad propaganda and zombification; 13% by big money; 12% by stupidity, infantilism, and youthful extremism; 8% by personal troubles; and 8% by absence of necessary care of youth by the state and yweakness of patriotic education; 6% by ill-breeding; and 6% by a lack of excitement. It is notable that 91% of respondents don’t rule out that some of their acquaintances would like to join Islamic State.

Meanwhile, according to the chairlady of the Public Chamber Commission on the development of public diplomacy and support for compatriots abroad, the first vice-president of the Russian Peace Foundation Elena Sutormina, “girls recruited by IS can be divided into two categories: some of them belong to underprivileged layers of the population and lived all their life in the suburbs, and the second is this middle class, which is studying in universities, and in recent years they have been the most recruited. The first group is affected by their husbands, and the second group strives for independence. Some girls think that men who are at war must be faithful in family life too, a reliable support. The number of those who turn to Islam from Christianity, Judaism or atheism is growing.”

According to the expert, IS recruiters are actively affecting the psychology, working in social networks: “Students are being studied – which institutions, universities, which speciality, their private life, what is written on their pages. Also, recruitment goes through dormitories, internet cafes, through the mosques.”

Sutormina thinks that IS is recruiting more people from Russia, and this shows that Russia, unfortunately, has underestimated the scale of this problem for a long time. A hotline will open in the Public Chamber from August 1, and parents, close ones of people who were recruited can call there; for example, they feel afraid that something is not right with their children. “It is necessary to look at it very carefully, what happens to a young man, some changes in behavior, that he, for example, began to study the Koran, took tutorials in the Arabic language. Some girls have asked permission to wear the hijab, then it is already a clear indication,” the expert says.

The Public Chamber also came up with an initiative to hold lectures in high schools and universities about what a terrorist organization is: “Since we know about videos, how they are prepared, a lot of money is thrown, music for IS films is written by a famous composer. The central television is also to create some series of such films, because sometimes the media, while telling about the horrors of IS, about the fact that they're creating another film, they are unintentionally making advertising for them. And of course, we believe that a map of threats should be created in Russia, maybe not in the public domain, but for the work of the governors to be assessed on the situation with recruitment to and counteraction of terrorist organizations.”

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Vestnik Kavkaza

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