Young People Are Being Driven To ISIL Because Of Unemployment

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Zaky Mallah says unemployment is driving young Muslims to join ISIL. Image: 9news.com.au

Muslim leaders have warned that high youth unemployment remains the biggest threat  to the radicalisation of young Muslims in Australia.

Australian Muslim community leaders have revealed that they continually come across disaffected young men who want to travel to Syria simply because ISIL are offering good money.

Among these youth is Zaky Mallah, who jokingly said “I might as well bloody join ISIS (also known as ISIL and Daesh) lol. They have work! And good money!”

The 31-year-old has been knocked back from countless job opportunities, but stresses that he has no intention of joining the terror group however cites how hard it is for youth to secure jobs, especially those of Muslim background.

He told Fairfax Media that many of these youths are lacking meaning in their lives because of lack of employment and resources.

“Put it this way, if a person doesn’t have a job in life to keep them occupied then a person will start thinking about silly things and engaging in those silly thoughts,” Mr Mallah said.

“It might be going overseas, it might be joining a military group, it might be becoming a lone wolf.

“They need to find themselves part of something and if they can’t find themselves part of a community or work environment then unfortunately they will go to extreme measures to get what they’re crying out for.”

His claim is being backed by Australian Muslim community leaders who state that the despair a lot of young people feel can fuel their desire to want to be part of something big, and that Australian youth are desperate for jobs and unless the Australian government  does something, more Australian youths will be vulnerable to ISIL propaganda.

Ahmet Keskin, founder of the Affinity Intercultural Foundation, says that his organisation has come across numerous youths who are sitting ducks for extremists.

“When you’ve had knock-back after knock-back and you feel it’s because of your name or your background, that can fuel that emotion,” Mr Keskin said.

“ISIL plays on that rhetoric and gives them the opportunity to live out the Hollywood dream where they become a hero.”

“When you’ve had knock-back after knock-back and you feel it’s because of your name or your background, that can fuel that emotion,” Mr Keskin said.

“ISIL plays on that rhetoric and gives them the opportunity to live out the Hollywood dream where they become a hero.”

Meanwhile, Keysar Trad from the Islamic Friendship Association, is calling for more funds to create jobs for at-risk youth.

Their calls to direct more funding into job creation for at-risk youth may be answered in the government’s proposed $13.4 million Countering Violent Extremism initiative.

Initiatives to help curb extremism in Australia are already being carried out in Victoria, with Islamic schools rolling out an ‘anti-radicalisation program’.

Developed by teacher Kuranda Seyit, of the Islamic Council of Victoria, the pilot program is a direct response to the rise of Islamic State and the uprising in Syria.

The program will teach students Islam’s “middle way” and address topics such as jihad and fighting overseas.

Mr. Seyit years ago taught Syria-based jihadist Mohamed Elomar, who has posted photos on social media of himself holding the severed heads of his enemies.

“We need to have carefully planned programs in place to deal with this issue before it gets to a point where we’ll have more people who are at risk of getting into more extreme activities,” he said.

“It’s based on what’s been going on particularly in the last 12 months on the Syrian crisis and the impact that’s had on young people going overseas, that was probably the catalyst that made us want to do it.”

The Age last week revealed that a principal at a Melbourne public school was struggling to deal with the needs of two students who had had parents fighting for IS in Syria.

Mr Seyit said his students were generally confused about the legitimacy of extremism, and the radicalisation peddled in some corners of the internet was proving a particularly dangerous problem.

“They have so many difficult influences in terms of their understanding. They’ll be getting things from their parents, they’ll be getting things from the local mosque, they’ll be getting things from online sources.

“They ask whether fighting overseas, if it’s legitimate. They also ask questions around whether the media is accurately reporting this stuff. There’s a lot of stuff going on in their minds.”

The program’s main intent is to foster a strong enough sense of belonging among youth and young students in Australian communities so that they do not feel the need to be pulled into extremism and ISIL propaganda.

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