04/13/2016, 11.56
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Young Arabs against Islamic state: The violent face of unease in the Middle East

A survey of 3,500 young people from 16 countries of the region reveals that the majority is against Isis. 77% worried about the fate of the region. Only 15% believe that Daesh will reach the goal of creating an Islamic State. But experts warn: IS violence reflects a persistent unease. Worries about unemployment.


Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The majority of young people in the Arab countries "strongly rejects" the philosophy and actsof Daesh [Arabic acronym for Isis] and is convinced that the jihadist movement "will fail in its attempt to found an Islamic state".

This is revealed in a recently published survey of at least 3500 boys and girls from 16 different Arab nations of the Middle East. The questionnaire - 180 questions - also reveals that 50% of respondents felt the fundamentalist movement is the "greatest obstacle" facing the region. 77% also expressed "concern" about the fate of the area compared to 37% last year, confirming a worsening of the general picture.

The survey results were presented during a press conference in Dubai, in the context of an annual event (Asda's Burson-Marsteller) that traces the situation for young  people in the Arab countries. Respondents are young people (50% each) between 18 and 24 years, interviewed in January and February by the US research group Penn Schoen Berland.

The authors of the survey, which to date is the most extensive in this area, explain that only one in six (15% approximately) believes that the terrorist group will succeed in the aim of establishing an Islamic State in the Arab world; by contrast, 76% believe the jihadist movement will fail.

Despite growing concerns, the "tacit" support for Daesh is decreasing in the Arab world, with 78% of young respondents rejecting the ideology of the group even if you change your tactics. Only 13% (down from 19% last year) is a convinced supporter of the jihadists, provided the movement dampen the violent tone of its actions. In addition, the young people are convinced that the high level of unemployment is the decisive factor that draws new followers to the Islamic State. 24% say this is the "main reason" for its attraction to young people, while one in four does not understand why anyone would join the extremist group.

The ILO data (International Labour Organization) confirms that there are 75 million people without a job in Arab countries. All this generates pessimism and the desire for redemption in movements and extremist ideologies, struggling against the governments [deemed incapable and corrupt].

Other reasons for Daesh’s success are its interpretation of Islam, seen as superior to others (18%), sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shiites (17%) and the growth of “Western ideas and secular values ​​" in the region (15%).

Analysts and experts warn that although the attitude towards the Islamic State and its violent practices is changing, there are still unresolved issues on the ground that are pushing the people, particularly young people, to different forms of redemption and rebellion.

Hassan Hassan, Middle East scholar and co-author of "Isis: Inside the Army of Terror" confirms that "many" do not share Daesh’s actions but the group takes on the "real and unresolved problems." In reality, the jihadist movement is a symptom of the "growing unease" which instead should be countered.  The academic believes that military and intelligence responses are not enough against Isis, because the organization uses "the economic, social and religious failures" of the leaders of the region and the West. "Daesh can also weaken and disappear - he concludes - but the disease remains and other such groups will emerge in the future if it is not resolved”.

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