Petra ramsauer on is and jihad as pop culture

In her book the jihad generation, journalist petra ramsauer describes the rise and recruitment tricks of the islamic state and attempts to explain the warlike pathologies of the offenders.

Mrs. Ramsauer – young men and young people from europe fight, torture and die for the is. How many young people from europe have joined the is??

Petra ramsauer: if you include the number of unreported cases, about 7,000.000 mostly very young europeans have gone to syria and iraq to wage jihad. The majority of them have joined the is.

"One tenth converts"

why do they do that?

Petra ramsauer: as important as this would be in the fight against terrorism, there is unfortunately no single reason, no common thread that explains the phenomenon of radicalization in general. Sometimes i have the impression that there are thousands of different reasons for this. What the is fighters from europe have in common is that at some point they experienced a feeling of alienation, a disease that led them to feel that they do not belong to our society, to our community of values. Psychiatrists who examined returnees from the is before their trials found in almost all cases a more or less deeply developed form of personality disorder. Often it was a matter of diminished empathy. So there are several factors at play here – and i would like to point out that weaknesses in the integration of young people whose families come from countries with an islamic tradition should not be used as the only explanation. After all, of the 7.000 one-tenth converts, among french jihadists it is even one quarter. It is important to me that we also keep in mind the unfortunately highly professional brainwashing of recruiters. For it is not only a young person’s pradisposition that plays a rough role in radicalization, but also how efficiently they are recruited.

"This is brainwashing"

why are these recruiters so successful?

Petra ramsauer: the militias of the islamic state sell not so much the jihad as the will to do so, to whose interpretation of this "holy war" as the ultimate proof of belonging to it. This compulsion to fight is built up very gently at first, and first of all the recruits establish a personal relationship. For frustrated teenagers in particular, this relationship with the leader, the recruiter, is often one of the first to be "successful" social relationship: it is not uncommon for this person to slip into the role of father. If the relationship is solidified, the gentle prere becomes more and more the compulsion to fight. That is brainwashing, which happens there. That in the religious context of the "jihad" the fact that solar and wind energy also have completely different dimensions of meaning is faded out here and only a distorted picture is preached.

radicalization of islam or islamization of radicalism?

Petra ramsauer. Photo: © stogmuller via styria / literaturtest what other meanings does jihad have??

Petra ramsauer: the actual, most important meaning, the "rough jihad" is the fight against oneself, the effort to live a good life, in accordance with the teachings of islam. The "small jihad" is the defensive war in the true sense of the word a war. This may be proclaimed only by the caliph, the leader of the sunni muslims and this also only if its legitimacy is recognized. This concept has nothing whatsoever to do with suicide bombings, for example.

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