Youths drawn to ISIS due to feeling of isolation, misunderstanding of Islam: Khairy

The article first appeared in The Star on April 4, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK): The radicalisation of youths is rooted in not just a misunderstanding of Islam, but a combination of several other factors, said Malaysia's Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Khairy said that the factors influencing youths to be radicalised and to join the Islamic State (IS) are a lack of platform to be heard, one's socio-economic status, a desire to change the world, a desire to belong, and a perceived sense of injustice in the world.

"The feeling of isolation is especially hard on youths," he said, adding that these youths often seek to be part of a group that treats them as part of a family. "The youths who feel marginalised, lonely. They want friends and a sense of belonging," he added.

Khairy was speaking at a forum that is part of the Campaign to Combat Violence, Extremism, and ISIS, which was held at the Malaysian Technology University.

He said that these feelings of isolation often lead them to become prime targets of IS.

"To them, there is nothing wrong with joining IS if it could fill the emptiness in their schedule and in their soul," he added. "Sometimes this is how they start involving themselves with IS - to feel a sense of belonging and to be appreciated."

He said that these factors need to be addressed in order to prevent more Malaysian youths from joining the Islamic State.

"There is no easy solution to this issue," he pointed out. "With one youth saved, others will follow and not be swayed by the promise of false jihad."

The Malaysian government's tabling of the Prevention of Terrorism Act in Parliament, he said, is another way to prevent the spread of terrorism in the country.