Why Are Our Children Joining ISIS?
The HYSTERIA increases daily as every news outlet in the world screams about ISIS.
• ISIS’ harsh brand of Islam is rooted in Saudi creed
• ISIS Supporters Appear to Behead French Captive
Isis Burns Jordanian Pilot to Death
• ISIS on the move as airstrikes continue
Strikes on ISIS. Now What?
And it’s not just the media.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “We have to confront the menace.” US Vice President Joe Biden warns ISIS that America will hound it “to the gates of hell.” John Kerry says the fight against Isis “will go on!”
In response to the threat, US President Obama has called for a coalition force to wipe out ISIS. No doubt the powers that be from those coalition countries (and possibly many others) are sitting around plotting how to get rid of ISIS.
Given the circumstances that maybe a good idea. But sadly, in my opinion this is a shortsighted solution to an ever-growing challenge. ISIS is a hydra, a multi-headed beast; therefore attacking Syria or hounding “the gates of hell” to kill one outlet of ISIS just means another one will pop up.
Maybe we are missing the real point when it comes to the young around the world who are willing joining the movement. Perhaps the real question to ask is why are so many young adults from Western first world countries like the UK, Canada, Australia joining the depraved Islamic group ISIS? Why are first world Westerners jumping on planes to go join this seemingly insane group of extremists? I believe I know and my answer may surprise you!
But let me shift gears for just a moment. (This really does have to do with ISIS!) In my upcoming book Fiercely Loyal I state: Whatever You Thought of the Occupy Movement, I look at the current wide-spread distrust of big business, big government and Leadership in general and I see all the clues.
What you need to know is that, even though it may appear that the Occupy Movement has faded into oblivion, there was very real damage done to the willingness Millennials to trust in big business the leadership they have grown up with. Millennials don’t trust big business or big government with pretty good reason. There was 997 billion dollars worth of corporate fraud reported just in the year of 2010 alone!
So what has the Occupy movement got to do with ISIS? It should be noted that many of those who join would not have previously identified themselves as “Muslim,” so what is the attraction? Our school systems are falling apart, kids are leaving school barely being able to read, and having no knowledge or understanding of other cultures even within our own county. Therefore, they can experience an inner psychological pull that is stronger than the morality they grew up with.
In addition, the Millennial generation, those born after 1980 and up to 2004, exhibit a far more fierce desire to be a part of something meaningful than did members of Gen X or Baby Boomers before them. As grotesque as the vision of beheadings and massacres happen to be to the “civilized” nations of the world, there is an allure to the kind of extremist ideology that ISIS signifies for disillusioned members of this generation.
Millennial and the Search for Meaning
Millennials who don’t have the education or insight necessary for sound evaluation or perception of the consequences for history, may still feel the driving need to belong and the desire to do something they perceive as meaningful. It makes them an easy target!
Let’s face it; Millennials are the most electronically connected generation in history. However, they are also often emotionally disconnected, and this fuels a heightened desire to belong to something, and ISIS recruiters understand this and use social media to push those buttons.
In positive ways, this manifests in joining community co-operation groups and an increased desire to be involved in collaborative efforts across social networks. However, for Millennials who are poorly educated, and who are emotionally disenfranchised from their families and peer groups, this makes them strong candidates for indoctrination.
They can be particularly vulnerable to “recruiters” who understand the largely unconscious psychological desires and motivating forces of Millennials. The truth is we’re seeing the worst examples right now with the ISIS extremist group attracting young people, although these young people are also being indoctrinated into far right “Christian” hate groups and the like.
These young people are looking for collaborative leadership, leaders who convey a message that the millennial is an important part of the mission, the purpose, the vision. When it comes to Millennials and the search for meaning, the 80s band “Tears for Fears” were right: “Everybody wants to rule the world.”
This is why the Millennial generation may be the most important generation in recent history!
So while you may struggle to understand why any first world young adult would sign up with a group that glamorizes beheadings and the murder of children, it might be worth realizing that you cannot understand Green if you are looking through Red lenses. In other words if you are trying to understand this within the context (lenses) of your (GenX or Boomer) paradigm you simply may just not be able to see it.
But if we ever hope to stop the insanity…and we have to, we have to look for the Red lenses (of Millennials) and put aside our old familiar Green ones, (of GenX and Boomer leadership). Our future…and that of the Millennials may depend on it.
In the next article in this series, I will speak about ISIS and other extremist groups manage to keep the followers Fiercely Loyal once they are in (the answer is likely NOT what you would expect)
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Dov Baron Speaks internationally and is The Leading Authority on Authentic Leadership on leadership in the new economy.
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