- Scott Atran said 75% of foreign fighters are recruited to ISIS by friends
- He added that a further 20% of recruits are persuaded to join up by family
- Terror expert says that ISIS recruitment rarely takes place in mosques
- Explains ISIS fighters from Christian families are the ‘fiercest’ of them all
Jennifer Newton for MailOnline
03:24 EST, 25 November 2015
03:35 EST, 25 November 2015
Nearly all foreign extremists who sign up to join ISIS are recruited by family and friends and are very rarely radicalised in mosques, a terrorism expert has warned.
Scott Atran from Oxford University said reseach has found that three-quarters of recruits are persuaded join the terror group by friends with a further 20 per cent signing up due to family members.
He also added that radicalisation very seldom takes place in mosques or through anonymous recruiters or strangers and that ISIS fighters from Christian families are the ‘fiercest fighters of all the fighters we find.’
Nearly all foreign fighters signing up to ISIS, pictured, are recruited by family and friends and not radicalised in mosques, a terrorism expert has warned
Mr Atran was speaking at a meeting on ‘Foreign Terrorist Fighters’ organised by the UN Security Council’s counter-terrorism committee.
He told the gathering that ISIS recruits see joining up as a ‘call to glory and an adventure that moves young people to join’ and that ‘jihad offers them a way to become heroes’.
Scott Atran, pictured, from Oxford University, made the comments at a UN meeting on foreign terrorist fighters
The New York-born anthropologist also added that ISIS has a ‘revoluntionary pull’ the same as what was seen in the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the rise of Nazi Germany.
He explained: ‘The Islamic State represents the spearhead of the most dynamic counter-culture revolutionary movement since World War II with the largest volunteer fighting force since World War II.
Mr Atran conducted some of his research by interviewing captured fighters from ISIS and the al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front and said leaders of ISIS ‘understand youth much better than the governments that are fighting against them.’
He added that they know how to speak to the rebelliousness and idealism of youth and that they are very adept at using social media to target young people aged between 15 and 24.
He also explained that the West’s counter message that the group is bad, cut off heads and wants to control women is not effective or universal.
And Mr Atran stressed that the Paris attacks that killed at least 130 people are an integral part of the ISIS game plan.
Mr Atran added that ISIS fighters from Christian families are the ‘fiercest fighters of all the fighters we find’
He also said that ISIS recruits see joining up as a ‘call to glory and an adventure that moves young people to join’
‘There is no change in the game of the Islamic State,’ he said. ‘This has been the plan and will continue to be the plan.’
Their aims include hitting soft targets everywhere because it is impossible for nations to defend cafes, theatres and stadiums, Mr Atran said.
Their plan also includes drawing the Western powers into the Middle East again because ‘it will only cause chaos,’ and driving a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims.