MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) - In the wake of the rising Islamic State (IS) violence in Syria and Iraq, Germany has found that an increasing number of its young Muslim population, including Kurds, has been going off to join the IS-fought “holy war,” in what is now believed to be a new form of counterculture, Mouhanad Khorchide, an ethnic Palestinian and researcher, said Wednesday.
According to Khorchide, an Islamic theologian at the University of Muenster, radical Islam has become a popular trend with both Germans of Muslim origin and Muslim converts who regard reactionary movements, such as Salafism, as a sort of counterculture. Khorchide says fundamentalism is a “product of modernity” akin to youth movements in other societies.
According to Der Spiegel, in July, German domestic intelligence was alerted to a group of young jihadists who had left Hamburg to fight under the IS black banner in Syria. A dozen of men in their early twenties was brought to Turkey, the gateway of EU-born IS recruits to the Middle East, and then sneaked across the border.
The US Department of State estimates that about 12,000 foreigners have joined extremists fighting against government forces in Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011.
For many EU-born Islamic State fighters jihadism is an explanation of the world around them, painted in black-and-white colors and divided into the pious and heretics. For those feeling at a loss among their peers, it is an island of clarity in the society with increasingly blurred boundaries that offers strict guidelines to those confused and struggling to choose a way in life.
Kurds in the besieged Syrian border town of Kobani have become the target of IS violence over the past few weeks, with citizens fearing religious persecutions and massacre. The threats have prompted Turkish Kurds to fight the government for their right to go over the border and help their people defend the town.
But in a surprising turn, IS call for jihad has been answered by young German Kurds who are being brainwashed into radicalism and trafficked to the Middle East to fight for their new-found religion, according to Der Spiegel.
Some of the brainwashing by the jihadist group is done at the mosques and other religious gatherings that act as so-called “contact points” for young fundamentalists willing to take off for Syria or Iraq. But the Internet serves as the main channel of radicalization, with youngsters left all to themselves and surfing the web for orientation in their lives – and finding digital IS propaganda, like ghastly beheading videos.
Meanwhile, the relatives of recruits in Germany, including Allawi Kurds, are watching in horror as their loved ones are taken away by IS Sunni recruiters to kill their own in Syria. Officials say there is no chance of getting them back once these men have crossed into a war zone. Neither is there currently a way to stop even more recruits from leaving to fight the IS war.