From: UpFront

The Arena: What drives Westerners to fight for ISIL?

Scott Atran debates Sebastian Gorka about what motivates young men and women from the West to join armed groups.

Right now from the streets of Paris to Raqqa to Dabiq, jihad is sexy.

by Sebastian Gorka

The UK confirmed this week that two of its nationals, who were accused of fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were killed in a precision drone strike in Syria.

The British government justified the killing of Ryaad Khan, 21, and Ruhul Amin, 26, saying the two young men were plotting attacks against the UK.

The pair are part of a growing list of young men and women from the West who leave their home to fight for ISIL. But what drives these individuals to terror? Is it solely religion or are other factors at play?

In this week’s Arenaanthropologist Scott Atran, one of the few experts who has talked directly with al-Qaeda and ISIL fighters around the world, debates counter-insurgency expert Sebastian Gorka about why young people from the West leave their homes to fight for ISIL.  

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