As the three British schoolgirls that went missing in February have apparently made it to Raqqa, Islamic State's capital in Syria, another British family tried to reach the ravaged country. They didn't make it because Turkish police intercepted the Berkshire couple and their four kids in Ankara, taking them into custody. We've reached a point at which almost every week there are westerners trying to cross the world to fight for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
This is not despite the fact that the terrorist group shows brutal violence against all its opposers, but precisely because of that. How can it be explained? Why do westerners that enjoyed freedom and rights in their native countries let themselves be radicalised by ISIS?
"The reason why the majority of Muslims does not act like ISIS nor condone its crimes is because those millions of the so called moderate Muslims have not been prone to fundamentalist Islamic teaching through indoctrination (intellectual hypnosis)," says Ashraf Ezzat, an Egyptian doctor who writes for various websites. "Once they are, even if they were brought up in western communities, a considerable faction of them especially those with assimilation and economic problems will turn into dogmatic Jihadists ready to be recruited by ISIS," he adds.
For Hoda Muthana, an American 20-year-old who joined ISIS and now goes by the name Umm Jihad, radicalisation happened via smartphone. Her story was told by BuzzFeed last week and includes her father's testimony and heartbreak. In spite of being a strict Muslim family, none of them ever suspected the young girl would want to kill in the name of religion. Moreover, to incite fellow Americans to "run over" infidels in their cities and glorifying #Terrorism. She has been actively trying to convert other women via Twitter, but her multiple accounts have been disabled - not before passionate discussions with other Muslims, who challenge ISIS' views and acts and can still be read online.
Twitter has been cracking down on terrorist content within the website, but a lot of propaganda is still visible. One can look for Umm Usama, under the handle @ummmuawiyahh, and read the thoughts of the self-proclaimed Muhajirah (immigrant) currently in Mosul, Iraq. She says her only regret was not making into the Islamic State sooner and that being there is full of tests. "People go back for a reason because of a deficiency in their Imaan [faith]," she tweeted earlier this year. "They take tests as calamities and they lose out on the ajar of patience." Ends with a warning: "Expect to be trailed." Her Twitter background is filled with owls and beautiful flowers. #War