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What Arab youth thinks of ISIS

What Arab youth thinks of ISIS

Freyja 2016-04-19 14:36:10
The rise of Isis is the Middle East’s greatest challenge in the eyes of young Arabs who identify a lack of jobs as the main recruitment driver for the Sunni militant group.  

Many respondents to the annual Asda’a Burson-Marsteller Arab youth survey were unable to explain why anyone would join Isis. But they said its rise was helped by growing sectarian tensions as well as the jihadis’ belief in the superiority of their interpretation of Islam. But three-quarters said they do not believe Isis will establish an Islamic state.

The survey of 3,500 18-24 year olds across 16 Arab countries is the broadest poll of young people — the majority of the population in a region characterised by increasing instability, repressive political systems and few outlets for free expression.

The respondents ranked Isis terrorism, unemployment and civil unrest as the biggest challenges facing the region.

“The organisation [Isis] thrives on political, economic, social and religious failures,” said Hassan Hassan, an analyst, in a white paper accompanying the survey. “Daesh [Arabic for Isis] may weaken and disappear, but the underlying sickness will remain and similar groups will emerge if that sickness is not addressed.”

The rise of Isis has been accompanied by increasing sectarian strife with Sunni Saudi Arabia locked in a regional tussle with Shia Iran and its regional proxies, such as Hizbollah in Lebanon and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

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