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Letter: Do not underestimate the power, scope of ISIS

Do not underestimate the power, scope of ISIS

ISIS is becoming one of the most powerful organizations influencing the minds of people, especially young people, all over the world. The number of people joining ISIS every day is shocking. Young kids from good loving families, students from prestigious universities and men and women with prominent careers. What drives them to join the Islamic State, with its brutal and unforgiving policies?

One of the major factors is the basic psychological need of belonging. It is necessary for many people to know that they belong to a community; and when that community gives them a chance to pursue a higher goal, it fulfills the next very important psychological need – self-actualization.

From the psychological standpoint mentioned above, “socialism” or “communism” is based on the idea of working together toward one better future for everyone. Every person is part of a big united community. ISIS is promising something similar to potential members.

In the United States, on the other hand, there is a spread of individualistic theory. The idea of segregation, separation and expressing inner self is embedded into every sphere of American life. That could be one of the reasons why Americans are more vulnerable to being misled by the Islamic State.

ISIS uses social media like YouTube, Twitter or Facebook on a very profound and professional level to target the younger generation. It also has educated spiritual leaders whose talent of persuasion should not be underestimated.

ISIS has money and is more accessible and powerful than we think. Most importantly, it is everywhere.

Julia Mineeva-Braun