[Ed. -Scope of the problem]
One day this April, instead of coming home from school, two teenagers left their valley high in the Caucasus, and went off to war.
In Minneapolis, Minnesota, a 20-year-old stole her friend’s passport to make the same hazardous journey.
From New Zealand, came a former security guard; from Canada, a hockey fan who loved to fish and hunt.
And there have been many, many more: between 16,000 and 17,000, according to one independent Western estimate, men and a small number of women from 90 countries or more who have streamed to Syria and Iraq to wage Muslim holy war for the Islamic State.
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the group’s leader, has appealed to Muslims throughout the world to move to lands under its control — to fight, but also to work as administrators, doctors, judges, engineers and scholars, and to marry, put down roots and start families.
“Every person can contribute something to the Islamic State,” a Canadian enlistee in Islamic State, Andre Poulin, says in a videotaped statement that has been used for online recruitment. “You can easily earn yourself a higher station with God almighty for the next life by sacrificing just a small bit of this worldly life.”