One of the witnesses to the foundation of the Islamic State organisation has told an American online magazine that many of the Dutch youngsters who came to help in the early days were ‘crazy’.
Abu Ahmad, a Syrian operative for the Islamic State who witnessed the group’s lightning expansion firsthand, spent months among its most notorious foreign fighters, according to the article on Foreign Policy.com.
He told the journalists he admired the foreign fighters whom he knew, mainly young men from Belgium and the Netherlands who had traveled to Syria to fight jihad.
‘These foreigners left their families, their houses, their lands and traveled all the way to help us here in Syria,’ Abu Ahmad said. ‘So to support us they are truly sacrificing everything they have.’
But while some were truly devout, others he called the crazies. These were mostly young Belgian and Dutch criminals of Moroccan descent, unemployed and from broken homes, who lived marginal lives in marginal suburbs of marginal cities.
Most of these crazies, Ahmad said, had no idea about religion, and hardly any of them ever read the Quran. To them, fighting in Syria was either an adventure or a way to repent for their ‘sinful lives’ in Europe’s bars and discos.
Research based on Dutch police records last year showed that more than half the Dutch Muslims who have gone to Syria and Iraq had psychiatric problems before they left, and one in five had serious behavioural issues or an official condition such as schizophrenia.
Police researchers analysed the records of 140 Dutch jihadis and the findings dispute the often quoted view that they are all intelligent youngsters driven by ideology.
In fact, they often come from broken homes, have low levels of education and displayed behavioural issues as children. A number have also been homeless for a time, the researchers found.
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