Jihadists are defecting from Isil after their “Islamist utopia” of luxury cars and heroism” never materialised. Others have fled the terror group because of fears they were to be used as “cannon fodder” or suicide bombers. Jihadists are defecting from Isil after their “Islamist utopia of luxury cars and “heroism” never materialised.
Others have fled the terror group because of fears they were to be used as “cannon fodder” or suicide bombers. Having to carry out “dull duties” and a lack of frontline action and was also blamed by some for them leaving, a report has found.
At least 58 people have left the group since January last year but the true figure is likely to be far higher, the research by International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) concluded.
That figure is likely to be just a fraction of “those disillusioned, ready to defect, and or willing to go public”, it found.
Some of those who left were disappointed by the “quality of life” and were “typically among the ones who had joined the group for material and ‘selfish’ reasons, and quickly realized that none of the luxury goods and cars that they had been promised would materialize”.
Power shortages and a lack of basic goods was also blamed while two said they left after hearing they were to be used as suicide bombers.
“They wanted to first experience fighting and get an opportunity to enjoy the spoils of war before going on their final mission,” the report said.
For others their experience of combat “failed to meet their expectations of action and heroism”.
The level of brutality against fellow Muslims and in-fighting were also raised as reasons for leaving.
The report said the defections had been “sufficiently frequent to shatter IS’s image as a united, cohesive and ideologically committed organisation”.
It added: “They demonstrate that IS is not the jihadist utopia that the group’s videos promise; and that many of its own fighters have deep concerns about the group’s strategy and tactics.”
It suggested the pace of public defections was increasing with six in ten cases reported this year and a third in the three months to August.
One of the defectors is British widow Shukee Begum who was left stranded in Turkey with her five young children after fleeing Isil when her husband was killed fighting.
But defecting from the group was “complex and dangerous”, with those who succeed in fleeing the group’s territory fearing reprisals or prosecution once they return to their home country, the study said.
It called on governments to do more to remove obstacles that prevent defectors from speaking up, saying their testimony could be help prevent potential new recruits from being radicalised.
The report stressed it “does not attempt to excuse, justify or glorify people’s decision to join IS”, adding that some are “likely to have committed crimes”.
However, it said: “They joined the most violent and totalitarian organisation of our age, yet they have also become its victims, and their stories can be used as potentially powerful tools in the fight against it.”