For quiet sometime now a select number of Westerners from various locations have been lured and recruited to join, or attempt to join, terrorist organizations, and more recently the number of recruits and attempts has increased specifically due to ISIS. CNN reported that, The FBI and the U.S. Justice Department have been trying to stay ahead of wannabe terrorists since the 9/11 terror attacks. Many of their investigations have been successful, and the cases haven’t been in the media so much quiet like they are now. What makes this situation more pressing now is that this trend has become more frequent, and the majority of people attempting to join ISIS are teenagers. It’s so shocking to hear and read about how these teens are choosing to give up their Western lifestyles to join terrorist organizations like ISIS. ISIS has been able to lure and recruit these teenagers due to a few main reasons that include their propaganda methods, their knowledge on the religion, and their ability to fulfill identities.
A few weeks ago in Austria a couple of girls, Samra Kesinovic(17 years old) Sabina Selimovic(16 years old), skipped school and set forth to flee towards Northern Syria to join ISIS. These two were said to be your average high school girls just a year before, but friends and family noted that ever since they joined a local mosque that year they had become completely radicalized. These two girls planned and successfully made it across borders, and this is confirmed due to ISIS’ social media outlet and propaganda. Posts from these girls have been posted on their social networking sites showing them as they are now.
According to The Express, the families of the girls believe it’s highly unlikely that the girls are posting these messages themselves. The girls are definitely receiving a rude awaking as they spend more and more time there, and they have actually reached out and wrote to their parents about how they want to leave, but fear the consequences of ISIS. In this situation ISIS knew how to play on their religion to manipulate them to flee from their old lives, and their use of social networking through these teens has had influences on others. Shortly after Kesinovic and Selimovic, another two unnamed Austrian teenage girls attempted to flee and join, and there has been suspicion that these girls gotten the idea to flee from Kesinovic and Selimovic. It is still undetermined as to the full connection, but one main determined reason these girls decided to leave was to find identity. The Huffington Post stated that one of the girls was in foster care and told the police that she did not like Austria. So in this situation ISIS was able to lure them in by giving them this missing identity they didn’t feel back in Austria.
These are just a couple example, from Austria, of teens running away to join ISIS, but there are many more around the Western world. For instance, just in October there was a case in Colorado that involved three girls attempted to flee, and also one teen in Chicago about a week later, and both parties were intercepted at the airports. This growing trend among the youth is very alarming, and although many attempts have been caught, it is still disheartening to know that ISIS is able to manipulate and convert these teens into joining them.