This study directly contradicts the results of another new study in Germany, which found that “the widespread view that radical Muslims know little about Islam is wrong.”
Which study are we to believe? Well, this one reinforces the common view that a typical jihadi “is most likely to be male, young and disadvantaged economically, educationally, and in terms of the labour market.” Yet study after study has shown that poverty and lack of opportunity don’t really cause terrorism at all. The Economist reported in 2010: “Social scientists have collected a large amount of data on the socioeconomic background of terrorists. According to a 2008 survey of such studies by Alan Krueger of Princeton University, they have found little evidence that the typical terrorist is unusually poor or badly schooled.” In the same vein, CNS News noted in September 2013: “According to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, ‘Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.’ One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, “Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.” The Times Online reported the following as far back as April 2005: “Three-quarters of the Al-Qaeda members were from upper middle-class homes and many were married with children; 60% were college educated, often in Europe or the United States.”
There are innumerable examples of affluent Muslims becoming jihad terrorists. One was Maher “Mike” Hawash of Portland, Oregon, a well-regarded Intel executive who made $360,000 a year at the crest of a highly successful career. Around the year 2000, Hawash began to become more religious, growing his beard long, rejecting the nickname “Mike,” and attending the supremacist Islamic Center of Portland. Ultimately he served a seven-year prison term for conspiring to aid the Taliban.
What’s more, there is plenty of evidence that Islamic State jihadis know the Qur’an well. One Malaysian Muslim said that the Qur’an led him to join the Islamic State. A Muslima in the U.S. promoted the Islamic State by quoting the Qur’an. An Islamic State propagandist’s parents said of him: “Our son is a devout Muslim. He had learnt the Quran by heart.” A Muslim politician from Jordan said that the Islamic State’s “doctrine stems from the Qur’an and Sunnah.” There are innumerable other examples of this.
So this UN study appears to be simply an advertisement for the failed policies that the West is already implementing regarding the jihad threat.
“Isis: UN study finds foreign fighters in Syria ‘lack basic understanding of Islam,'” by Lizzie Dearden, Independent, August 4, 2017:
Young men who leave their homes to fight for terrorist groups in Syria mainly come from disadvantaged backgrounds, have low levels of education and “lack any basic understanding of the true meaning of jihad or even the Islamic faith”, according to a new report.
A study for the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism found that despite claiming to protect Muslims, most of the returned fighters were “novices” in their religion and some did not know how to pray properly.
“Most saw their religion in terms of justice and injustice rather than in terms of piety and spirituality,” said the authors of the report, which was based on interviews with 43 people from 12 countries.
They found that a typical fighter “is most likely to be male, young and disadvantaged economically, educationally, and in terms of the labour market”.
“He is also more likely than not to come from a marginalised background, both socially and politically,” the reported added.
“Most were unemployed, or underemployed, and/or said that their life lacked meaning.”
Three quarters of those interviewed reached Syria but subsequently decided to leave, while others were intercepted by authorities in their own country or stopped en route.
Despite an appeal to all UN member states, the authors expressed regret that only seven countries agreed to participate in the study – three from the EU and four from the Middle East and North Africa.
Professor Hamed el-Said, of Manchester Metropolitan University, and terrorism expert Richard Barrett met most of the returnees in prison or under the watchful eye of security services.
The majority of interviewed fighters, who attempted to join groups including Isis, al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and jihadi Ahrar al-Sham, came from large and dysfunctional families in deprived parts of cities where they were “isolated from mainstream social, economic and political activity”.
“Religious belief seems to have played a minimal role in the motivation of this sample,” the report found, saying economic factors had become more important as terrorist groups promised wages, homes and even wives.
The findings supported previous research using leaked Isis documents, which showed that most recruits profess to have only a “basic” knowledge of Sharia law, and warnings of a growing “crime-terror nexus” seeing violent criminals travel to Syria in the hope of “redemption”….
Although their accounts are highly unreliable, several imprisoned former Isis members have blamed the security services for their radicalisation….
Similar concerns have been raised about the Government’s controversial Prevent strategy, which is viewed by some to be divisive and discriminatory, while Isis itself has been attempting to capitalise on air strikes on its territory by publishing graphic images of dead children alongside calls for global terror attacks….
“It is important at least not to underestimate the motivations and determination of those who failed to make it to Syria,” the report concluded.
“There is little room for complacency, but while the risk presented by returning foreign terrorist fighters is a real one, it should not be exaggerated.
“A practical, effective and proportionate response should start from a sound understanding of the root causes of the problem.”