Christians recruited and converted by the ISIS are the ones to watch for, a terrorism expert says. ISIS recruits from Christian families are turning out to be the "fiercest ones."
A leading academic on the topic of terrorism, Scott Atran claimed that ISIS militants originally from Christian families can the "fiercest of all fighters." Atran, currently an anthropologist at Oxford University, was detailing to the UN Security Council's counter-terrorism committee on what may cause radicalization when he brought about this finding. He added that most ISIS fighters are not recruited from mosques as what would be expected. instead, ISIS fighters are usually recruited by their family and friends.
According to him, many are enamored to join ISIS because they thought it would be a glorious adventure where they are given a chance to be "heroes." Young people, in particular, are often the easiest to recruit because they are attracted to the group's revolutionary and idealistic ideas. "The Islamic State represents the spearhead of the most dynamic counter-culture revolutionary movement since World War II with the largest volunteer fighting force since World War II," he said, according to the Daily Mail.
The expert claimed that all his information came from captured ISIS soldiers who were captured. Atran added that the Western countries' reaction to the ISIS fighters and activities to combat them are not working.
Atran's findings are supported by other experts. According to Jürgen Todenhöfer, who wrote an article of the Guardian, how the Western countries reacted to the Paris Attacks makes them walk into the trap ISIS set up for them. Bombing of Syria would achieve nothing because the casualties are mostly innocent citizens, who would later on, feel compelled to become terrorists themselves for this injustice done to them.
The expert added that when he spent time interviewing Islamic State members in Syria and northern Iraq, he found out that it was precisely George W Bush's "war on terror" that became the breeding ground for these new terrorists. He called the war on terror a "classic terrorist recruitment programme," because of the estimated one million Iraqi lives that the war claimed. He added that it is futile to keep bombing Raqqa, because "out of 20,000 Isis fighters who used to hide in the city, only a couple of thousand remain at most." Bombing would just cause most of the remaining civilians to suffer greatly and ISIS would certainly circulate the images of these innocent casualties, especially those of children, in different Arab countries to incite hatred.
Moreover, according to a report by Reuters, lethal U.S. drone strikes in the Middle East are fueling hatred towards the West and spurring the expansion of Islamist militant groups such as ISIS, a group of former U.S. military airmen said on Thursday.
Four former drone operators have written an open letter to President Barack Obama, asking him to reevaluate his administration's use of drones, which critics say can engage innocent civilians and drive angry survivors into militancy.
"You harm these people, and they're going to want revenge," former Staff Sergeant Brandon Bryant, who operated drones for the U.S. Air Force Predator program between 2007 and 2011, said at a news conference in New York, according to Reuters.