Excellent article, raising important issues. The question raised at the end is fundamental, and we’ve only started asking it in a meaningful way – I think this essay an important contribution to that effort.
This essay was published in the Observer, 1 March 2015, under the headline ‘The search for identity draws jihadis to the horrors of Isis’.
First it was Shamima Begum, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana, three schoolgirls from Tower Hamlets who smuggled themselves to Syria during their half term holiday. Then it was ‘Jihadi John’, the IS executioner who was unmasked by the Washington Postthis week as the Kuwaiti-born Londoner Mohammed Emwazi.
The stories of the three schoolgirls and of Jihadi John are very different. But the same questions are being asked of them. How did they get radicalized? And how can we stop it from happening again? These are questions being increasingly asked across Europe. A recent report from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization suggests that there are now some 4000 European fighters with IS, a figure that has doubled over the past…
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