After Students Went To Wage Jihad, Teacher Highlights Youth Radicalization

Interesting interview with Lamya Kaddor, a German-Syrian religious studies teacher and expert on Islam, who teaches Islamic studies in Germany and who wrote a book Zum Toeten Bereit (Ready To Kill), about her experience having some of her former students joining jihadi groups in Syria

On why her students left Germany for jihadist groups

There’s a very simple reason. They were radicalized, they were ideologized, they were manipulated. The question behind it that I find way more important is: Why can these young people be manipulated this way? There are very difficult conditions in Germany, one being that Germany does not understand itself as an immigrant nation, even though it is at this point. But being German is still defined somewhat by descendance — how many generations do you go back as a German with a German lifestyle.

Number two is Islamophobia. It’s gone so far that in Germany every second German will say he or she has an issue with Muslims. And those are scary figures. There is still a discrepancy between being German and Muslim. You can’t be both. You’re either German or you’re Muslim. There’s no concept of being German and Muslim — and not just for the majority of the Germans, but also for the Muslims themselves. They don’t think these are two concepts that can be reconciled.

On why four of the five quickly returned to Germany

They wanted to come back. It was very difficult to get them back. They were extremely embarrassed. They could barely look me in the eye. They told me that in the beginning, they weren’t even sure if they were in Turkey or already in Syria. They weren’t aware of the border crossing. Some said they were even blindfolded.

As soon as they got there, they realized that that’s something they can’t do, they don’t want to do. And that it was not at all what they had been told beforehand.

On Kaddor’s former student who stayed in Syria

He actually took his wife with him and his newborn daughter. One of the ones who returned is actually his brother and he is in contact with him. And so he seems to be staying there and living there. … I believe that he is fighting.

On how this experience has affected the way she teaches

I have become more aware, more sensitive. If someone comes up and starts talking about good and evil, about what should be done with the unfaithful, I’m listening. And I’m paying a lot more attention when these kinds of things come up.

After Students Went To Wage Jihad, Teacher Highlights Youth Radicalization : NPR.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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