‘Islam for Dummies’: IS recruits have poor grasp of faith

From The Associated Press:

PARIS (AP) — The jihadi employment form asked the recruits, on a scale of 1 to 3, to rate their knowledge of Islam. And the Islamic State applicants, herded into a hangar somewhere at the Syria-Turkey border, turned out to be overwhelmingly ignorant.

The extremist group could hardly have hoped for better.

At the height of Islamic State’s drive for foot soldiers in 2013 and 2014, typical recruits included the group of Frenchmen who went bar-hopping with their recruiter back home, the recent European convert who now hesitantly describes himself as gay, and two Britons who ordered “The Koran for Dummies” and “Islam for Dummies” from Amazon to prepare for jihad abroad. Their intake process complete, they were grouped in safe houses as a stream of Islamic State imams came in to indoctrinate them, according to court testimony and interviews by The Associated Press.

“I realized that I was in the wrong place when they began to ask me questions on these forms like ‘when you die, who should we call?'” said the 32-year-old European recruit, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. He said he thought he was joining a group to fight President Bashar Assad and help Syrians, not the Islamic State.

The European, whose boyish demeanor makes him appear far younger than his age, went to Syria in 2014. He said new recruits were shown IS propaganda videos on Islam, and the visiting imams repeatedly praised martyrdom. Far from home, unschooled in religion, having severed family ties and turned over electronic devices, most were in little position to judge.

An AP analysis of thousands of leaked Islamic State documents reveals most of its recruits from …

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