The worst kind of warfare is the kind that is fought in the mind. A few convinced individuals can bring about a much more harm than a whole army. Faith can indeed move mountains. And faith of the wrong kind can bring about devastation and destruction. Recall the World Trade Towers which fell to the terrorist acts a few individuals who managed to board the plane. Thousands died on that day and it will always be a lesson what faith and belief of the wrong kind can do.
While it was the Al Qaeda which was the most virulent terrorist group a few years ago, that slot has now been taken over by the ISIL. It has managed to capture the imagination of quite a few youngsters around the world who now believe that they will be serving a higher cause. Islam has always had extremist elements and who have propagated the virtue of jihad or the holy war. Their targets have always been youngsters, the idea being to catch them young and brainwash them. Not knowing any other life and being exposed only to the jihadi culture, these youngsters are trained to be single minded to their cause and to undergo hardship and cruelties in the name of jihad. The ISIL is cruel on a scale that has shocked the world. The cold blooded beheadings of many western captives have chilled sensibilities all over the world.
The young Islamic youth have now learned to combine their extreme ways with modern technology. It is now possible for them to reach out to anybody in the world over the internet. Their online presence is visible for any young person who is disillusioned with his lot and is looking for some higher purpose or an excuse to indulge in violence or to express his own anger at the world in general. The internet has helped the ISIL to build many online communities all with the aim of recruiting youngsters from all over the world into their fold. In the US many people have been charged with extending support to the ISIL. France is also facing similar problems after the Charlie Hebdo incident, which triggered a wave of people joining the ISIL in protest. Many are choosing to become jihadi brides.
The problem however seems particularly acute in Britain, where Twitter accounts have helped in recruiting many young Britons. Twitter accounts like ‘Jihad Matchmaker’ have brought many young Britons to ISIL and in fact one of the Britons in the execution videos released by ISIL was found to be a youth from West London who went by the name Jihadi John.
In these circumstances, the British government has resorted to seizing the passport of youngsters who are travelling to Middle Eastern countries like Syria to prevent them from joining the ISIL. Two teenage girls have been made wards of Court as their parents were found to be keeping the truth from the authorities. While this may solve the problem temporarily, it is by no means a permanent solution to young people gravitating towards a jihadi movement.