Islamic State has targeted hundreds of ‘refugees’ and migrants heading towards Europe, calling on them to wage Jihad on the West and offering to pay for them to be smuggled to Europe if they join.
The claims, made in an up-and-coming report by the counter-extremism thinktank Quilliam, seen by the Guardian, says that IS has offered up to £1,600 to migrants in camps in Lebanon and Jordan if they’re willing to be recruited.
Focusing on migrants is now a staple tactic of the Islamist terror groups Islamic State, the Taliban, al-Qaida, al-Shabaab and Boko Haram, as all five organisation mentioned ‘refugees’ every day in their online material between June 13th 2016 and January 8th 2017, analysis found.
In the same period, researchers found 263 instances of such groups attempting to convince individual refugees to wage jihad against non-believers or join extremists and convert to Islam.
The report discusses certain “hotspots” on migration routes where Islamic State terrorists are frequently engaging with refugees and migrants.
The south Libyan town of Qatrun is mentioned, where Islamic State is believed to have between 4,000 to 6,000 fighters, and jihadists have reportedly funded the £450 smuggler fees for migrants to travel north, towards Europe, if they joined the terror group.
The report explains that youngsters travelling alone are particularly vulnerable to radicalization by jihadist groups. The European Union’s police agency Europol has identified an estimated 88,300 unaccompanied young migrants who have gone missing and are open to being targeted in this way.
Nikita Malik, a senior researcher at Quilliam, said: “Young asylum seekers are targeted by extremist groups as they are more vulnerable to indoctrination, make able fighters and, in the case of girls, can create a new generation of recruits.
“This report outlines national and international requirements to reduce the risk of child-trafficking, extremism and modern slavery.”
The report said: “Young unaccompanied refugees are more vulnerable to radicalisation if they are separated from their parents, who remained in the country of origin at risk to violent and radical groups, or in a new host country.
“There is no question that militant groups target refugee youth for recruitment. It has also been argued that refugee youth can become autonomously radicalised, through online content, for example.”