ISIS is exploiting and radicalizing young gay Muslim men struggling with their sexuality
Researchers in Australia have claimed that young gay Muslim men are exploited and indoctrinated by ISIS.
In a report commissioned by the government of Victoria and supported by the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council and Deakin University, several leaders have warned that disenfranchised gay Muslim youths are falling prey to extremists. These men have been indoctrinated to believe violent acts carried out in the name of their faith could save them from “eternal punishment”.
The report – “Supporting same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people of multicultural and multifaith backgrounds” – calls on community leaders to “recognise and address the links between homophobia and the radicalisation of some young people who are indoctrinated to believe that acts of violence in the name of their faith will purge them from eternal punishment for their … attractions”.
It quotes a Turkish community leader who says:
“This ISIS mob [is] just using him as fodder. His motivation is he has to cleanse his soul … because he knows that homosexuality is a sin. The best way to redeem yourself is by offering yourself, Jihad warfare or something.”
The anonymous leader, who is based in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, suggests that there are around 10 radicalized young gay men in his area.
Australia’s first openly gay imam, Nur Warsame (right), told The Australian the Muslim community faces serious issues about supporting young people who are gay or struggling with sexuality.
“When young people lose confidence in themselves, they go looking elsewhere for that confidence,” he said. “And, in some cases, groups like Islamic State prey on their vulnerability.”
Counter-terrorism expert Greg Barton said it is “unsurprising” that young people struggling with homosexuality could be vulnerable to Islamic State’s “redemptive narrative”.
He added it is “a good development” the concerns had been raised from within the Muslim community.
A spokesman for the Islamic Council of Victoria said he had not seen the report and was unaware a link had been made between homophobia and radicalisation.