Noor Huda Ismail went to an Islamic boarding school that was opened by the founders of Jama’ah Islamiyah. Photo: Kate Geraghty

As an individual, this boy will be nobody. But if he joined Islamic State to fight, he will be hero to some. Who doesn’t want to be hero? For them, being part of Islamic State is like playing a video game: they are in hero mode; something that they will never get it in a real life. Those who are disenchanted with the world, tend to seek groups that seem to be inclusive, which enhance their view of themselves and give them an opportunity to “prove their manhood” or whatever it is they need to feel powerful when their whole lives they have felt powerless. How the government and the community labels these guys as misfits and “no-hopers” can have a significant role in an individual’s decision to turn to extremism. We must help these young people finding ways to contribute to the greater good in our own society, so that they feel included rather than excluded; that they see themselves as valued.

– Noor Huda Ismail

Source: My school roommate was recruited by a terrorist group. It could have been me