This article was co-authored by Geneive Abdo and IWP student Yasir Zaidan Abdu, and was published by the National Interest.
A private, elite school in Khartoum tells the story of the appeal of ISIS–a story that defies years of mythologies in the West about the lure of Muslim youth to extremism.
In June, twelve students of the prestigious University of Medical Sciences and Technology left their studies and crossed into Turkey to become fighters for the so-called Caliphate in Syria. They are from wealthy families, are citizens of the UK, United States and Canada, hold foreign passports, barely know Arabic or much about Islam, and had much to look forward to in life.
While this pattern is similar to other foreign fighters who have joined ISIS, the case of the Sudanese students is chilling not only for what it says about their willingness to toss away a promising life for a utopian idea, but also what it reveals about the tactical and unprecedented effectiveness of ISIS’ recruiting strategies.