According to numbers gathered in 2010, Houston ranks in the nation’s top 10 cities for Muslim Americans. There is no doubt that more than a few Muslim families there are anxious to hear the outcome of the case of three bright muslim girls from east London who left home last week.
Investigators say it appears that the teens were recruited to join the self-proclaimed Islamic state. Indeed, hundreds of women from Europe and the U.S. have been recruited. Among them, many educated, financially comfortable, other-wise seemingly well-adjusted young women. So, why are these women drawn to a group which thinks so little of them? Mia Bloom, Professor of Security Studies at the University of Massachusetts and author of, “Bombshell: Women and Terrorism,” speaks on the lure for young women to join ISIS.
“A lot of these young girls are being groomed online in much the same way that pedophiles will approach and groom young people for sexual abuse. In other words, they create this atmosphere of trust and they develop a rapport, and so the girls begin to trust the person on the other side of the internet.”
On what Muslim families can do to protect their children:
“The parents should control their children’s passports. There is no reason for your child to have control of their passport. If they ask for their passport, there needs to be a good reason. Also, you need to be involved in much the same way that parents will monitor the online activity of their children.”
“So these hours and hours where kids are on their own-this is where they are particularly at risk. And so, part of it is to have the conversation-in much the same way that we warn kids about the dangers of strangers, about the dangers that may be everyday- families need to have the same conversation about online recruitment by ISIS because ISIS is deliberately going after these young girls in the West.”
This story was prepared with assistance by Megan Jo Olson