By Harun Yahya
29 November 2014
Experts on terrorism, intelligence agents, writers, editors and analysts in the West are constantly seeking the answer to one question: Why do people join the so-called Islamic State (IS)? They have come up with numerous theories; they have talked about poor kids from city suburbs, about uneducated and ignorant people and about bored people looking for adventure. Some describe this phenomenon as “the attractive force of a utopian politics,” while others have maintained that these people set out with the aim of “having a story of their own.”
However, many of those theories have been shelved now, as it has gradually been realized that the group contains large numbers of wealthy people, people with careers, academics, doctors and engineers, and that many come from well-off backgrounds.
Some have declared that those who join the organization have “mental problems.” The response to that came from John Horgan, a psychologist and a professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Center for Terrorism and Security Studies: “Because of what terrorists do, we assume that can be explained via the pathology of those people, but trying to explain terrorism as mental illness is misleading.”
Horgan and others have had to eliminate all the possibilities they had hypothesized. Because neither poverty, nor boredom, nor mental illness can explain why people from almost every country in the world are so determined to overcome all difficulties to become part of a system in which people die and are killed with ease. Nobody would hurl himself into a war, leaving behind his family and all he owns for the sake of “having a story.” He would never accept death so swiftly and unconditionally.
People are currently joining the IS from all over the world, from European countries to Kazakhstan, from Australia to Somalia and from Russia to Tunisia. The number of people joining the IS is rising all the time, despite the losses inflicted on it and the powerful weapons and aerial bombardments of the coalition. European countries such as France and Germany head the lists of these figures.
Let us now look at the true answer to the disturbing question. Looking at recent world history in particular, turning away from the true teachings of Islam and the consequent adoption of a skewed interpretation of Islam has led some Muslims to turn their backs on liberty, art and science and has radicalized them to a significant extent. As the ideological infrastructure of radicalism has spread in an uncontrolled manner (and sometimes in a manner controlled by certain covert forces) it has begun threatening a wide swath of territory also including Europe. The radicalism that ensued triggered Islamophobia, though the proponents of Islamophobia failed to see that they are further encouraging radicalism in a way they never desired.
As the numbers of those seeking a solution in destroying Islam and Muslims, who do not want Muslims in their country and who sit back and watch the oppression of Muslims in the world has grown, this has further served to incite hatred. The horrifying images left behind by the coalition forces’ interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq were the final straw. Nobody could or did remain unmoved by the western powers’ indiscriminate killing of families and destruction of homes. Savagery inevitably incites hatred.
The aim of the western coalition may genuinely be to install its own version of democracy in these lands. Yet the method used is so wrong that it has hurt, not just the Middle East, but the West itself. Those who wish to understand as to why so many people have joined the IS from Europe and why suicide is such a major problem in the US Army need to look a little at the erroneous nature of the policies being followed.
So what should the solution be? The IS follows a deviant ideology that many people in the world believe to be true. The followers of that ideology cannot oppose the IS because, at heart, they do not think that Islamic State is on the wrong path. The IS has managed to produce this effect to a large extent by way of the Internet. It used the social media. It reached out to five continents and gathered supporters. It won people over with perhaps only a few brief lines. In other words: Through education.
Horgan summarizes that effect in these words: “They have become so adept at social media that they are reaching out to disaffected individuals on a global scale.”
It is truly astonishing, given that education is so easy, the way that the western coalition powers still insist on reinforcing their bases in the Middle East with more weapons. What needs to be done is to set out using the same means and to show people the false nature of the IS ideology with evidence from the Qur’an by making use of such a powerful communication tool as the Internet. It is to prove, using Islam’s own holy book, that Islam rejects savagery and teaches love and peace. If the West can be convinced, there is of course no need to remind anyone that it has greater means at its disposal than IS. Just imagine that all international media, which are generally under the control of the West, were to provide such education with a loud voice! It would take just seconds for the world to hear the truth.
Europe at the moment is in a state of terror over the IS militants returning to their home countries. It believes that people who have fought in those regions and then come home will inevitably continue to commit acts of terror in their own countries, and those countries are taking extraordinary security precautions. Yet they never stop to think that the problem could be resolved at the roots if they were to educate these people about true Islam. Or else they are unwilling to believe it.
What they need to understand is this: If someone has set out to kill or die in a foreign land, the reason for that can only be an underlying belief. Since that essential belief is based on flawed interpretation of Qur’an, there is a solution that can produce clear and certain results; to teach people the true belief from the true source, in other words, the Qur’an. However, if western countries in particular continue to turn their backs on that education, the tragedy afflicting the world will sadly begin to threaten them even more. Bombs, guns and missiles are no solution to the problem; they are just a means of spreading hatred. It is a waste of time to ask, “Why are people joining IS?” while still seeking a solution in the form of bombs.
Harun Yahya has authored more than 300 books translated into 73 languages on politics, religion and science.