“Between the soccer practices and the hours at her accounting job and the potlucks with the neighbors, Christianne Boudreau spent every spare minute watching Islamic State videos, her nose pressed up against the computer screen… Through the screens and behind the balaclavas, she was looking for her son’s eyes.”
If only Christianne had been aware of the signs, processes and ideology of Islamic indoctrination before her son Damien disappeared and was killed fighting for ISIS. If only more parents were knowledgeable about predatory recruiters promoting jihadi values to curious and naïve teens.
Parents must be aware that:
- Recruitment is Growing
Radical recruiting increases each year with no signs of slowing down. According to Matt Levitt at the Washington Institute, at one time it took years to radicalize recruits, now it may take less than a month. Opportunities to connect with a recruiter are prevalent in local mosques, college campuses, prisons and social media chat rooms.
- It Can Happen to Anyone
Many inaccurately believe that those who join terrorist organizations are thugs, delinquents, homeless or mentally ill. But according to psychiatrist and George Washington University professor Dr. Jerrold Post, “Normal people, not psychopaths or criminals, generally become radicalized. Unexceptional people are moved to exceptional violence.” Young recruits hail from extremely diverse backgrounds and many are well educated and financially comfortable.
- One Size Does Not Size All
There is no single explanation for how the radicalization process occurs. Well-trained manipulators determine each teen’s vulnerabilities and uniquely craft an indoctrination process for each individual recruit. Quantum researchers discovered motivating factors include status, identity, revenge, redemption, ideology, thrill and justice.
- Signs to Watch For
Professional terrorist recruiters use isolation, brainwashing, the drive for purpose and the security of routines to create fertile ground for indoctrination. They gain control by pitting teens against their family during a, crisis, creating a “us” versus “them” dichotomy. Mystery and excitement are created by demanding secrecy as the recruit becomes lonely, isolated and dependent on their handler.Signs of jihadi indoctrination might include: quitting smoking, drinking and/or consuming pork; changes in friends; a sudden obsession with Islam, Arabic, online jihadi chat rooms, mosques or Islamic Cultural Centers; judging others’ behavior; no western clothing, music or television. Parents should heed these red flags and speak frankly to their children about all types of influences and dangers.
- How to Combat Radicalization
Since the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization began over 90 years ago, the goal of recruiting and indoctrination has remained. Terrorism is only the means to the end, which is implementing sharia (Islamic law) worldwide. As author Phillip Haney explains, “Like water soaking into a sponge, Sharia seeps into American society silently and unnoticed.” The only way to combat the swords of sharia is through the grassroots—by educating our youth.Understanding the enemy’s goals and subversive ideology can protect young adults from becoming the next jihadist. Parents must let go of political correctness and become involved in educating our children about this very real danger. They must first get educated themselves as to what life would be like under sharia and then have frank discussions with their children.As Edmund Burke famously stated, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”