Interview: Farah Pandith

Hillary Clinton’s envoy to the world’s Islamic communities talks about the identity crisis among Muslim youth that Islamic State is exploiting through Sheikh Google

The World Today Updated 4 January 2021 Published 1 April 2015 5 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

Europe has woken up to Islamic State’s recruitment of young women to go and live in Syria. Should we have been alert to this some time ago?

It is not a new phenomenon that extremists, such as Al Qaeda and now Islamic State, are working on the minds of young Muslims to move them into their real or virtual armies. The world has awoken to this threat because 20,000 foreigners are now fighting in Syria. As to whether we should be surprised that women are going to Syria, let me be clear: if you’re an extremist group, and you’re trying to build armies for the long term, of course you’re going to recruit boys and girls, men and women. It has been a tragic blind spot that governments have not been attuned to this fact and we’re playing catch-up right now.

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