Arab Youth Say ISIS is Middle East’s ‘Biggest Obstacle’


As the Islamic State group grows its presence online and in headlines, its influence among young people is shrinking. At least, that’s according to the annual Arab Youth Survey released Tuesday by polling firm Penn Schoen Berland.

Half of respondents named the rise of the extremist organization, also known as ISIS or Daesh, to be the No. 1 obstacle facing the Middle East. More than three-fourths said they were concerned about the group’s expansion, and the same amount said they thought ISIS would fail in its quest to establish a caliphate.

“Despite increasing concern, tacit support for the militant group is declining, with nearly four in five (78 percent) rejecting the group outright even if it were to change its tactics,” the survey’s whitepaper read. “Just 13 percent of young Arabs agree they could see themselves supporting Daesh if it did not use so much violence.” Last year, that same statistic was 19 percent.

Young people’s opinions on ISIS have been scrutinized over the past two years as the organization has risen in prominence. ISIS fighters have proven to be extremely talented at recruiting youth online, offering Western teens in particular an opportunity to leave behind mundane annoyances to make a difference. “ISIS provides a utopian political project, the so-called caliphate, the centralized Islamic rule,” Fawaz Gerges, a London School of Economics professor and Middle East expert, told CNN last year. “ISIS provides these deluded young men and women with an adventurous trip.”

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SOURCE: International Business Times, Julia Glum