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A new report from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, a British think tank group, has shed some light on what it's like to be an ISIS fighter day-to-day and why many of these recruits are choosing to flee the militant organization.
It's difficult to say how many Western recruits have fled ISIS, but reports indicate that thousands of young people from Western countries are leaving home to join the fight. Recently, there have been more and more former ISIS fighters abandoning the group. In interviews, many former ISIS fighters talk about how they were lured to join with promises of adventure and multiple wives. Those promises never came to be and daily life was far from the picture they imagined. Inadequate access to food and clean water are common. Many also complain that ISIS fighters are tarnishing the Muslim faith, with rampant corruption, racism, and sexual slavery. Finally, some defectors have said they are simply ill-prepared for the graphic violence like beheadings and torture.
World leaders are listening to such reports very closely. One of the key points of discussion at this year's UN General Assembly has been combatting the kind of violent extremism embodied by ISIS. Hopefully these testimonies can provide learnings to prevent radicalization from spreading in the first place.
Victims, Perpetrators, Assets: The Narratives of Islamic State Defectors (icsr.info)
"Defectors from the so-called Islamic State (IS) are a new and growing phenomenon. Since January 2014, at least 58 individuals have left the group and publicly spoken about their defection."
'Money, guns, girls': How ISIS recruiters win in the West (cnn.com)
"'Harry Potter' is one of the most popular book series of the last decade."
Better prison in Germany than freedom in Syria, says former 'IS' fighter (dw.com)
"For the first time, a former member of the jihadist group "Islamic State" has given an interview to the German media."
Protect Isis defectors, western governments urged (theguardian.com)
"Western governments have been urged by a terrorism thinktank to encourage fighters to defect from Islamic State with measures including offering them protection against reprisals."