The appeal of the Islamic State to Arab and Muslim youth is hard to understand. Many assume religion or social media is the main draw for the increasing numbers who are uprooting their lives to join the militants in Iraq and Syria. But this is not the full story.
Five distinct trends—not including theology or technology—explain the fatal attraction to the Islamic State. And understanding these trends is vital for winning the war against extremist ideologies.
First, Arab education systems have failed. Instead of vital analytical skills or civic values, schools emphasized rote learning and the uncritical acceptance of authority.
History curricula and religious education fostered an us-versus-them mentality along ethnic, ideological, and sectarian lines, making youth vulnerable to external influence. This helped transform the cultural landscape of Arab countries, facilitating the spread of militant ideologies and the early indoctrination of younger populations…
The Ultimate Fatal Attraction: 5 Reasons People Join ISIS-Carnegie Middle East Center
November 16, 2014