It has to be every parent’s nightmare; that things are so terrible at home that your children can’t stand it anymore and they walk out. This is really nothing new though, right. Teens have always run away from home and far from the fairytale round-the-block, Leave It to Beaver experience, such escapades in real life carry sometimes horrific consequences. But it’s always been like that, hasn’t it?
Different threats for different times only, right? Granted, today’s commerce makes the reach of a child hoping to flee home much greater than ever before but the core reasons why kids, teens and adults flee society for such enclaves as IS are still the same.
When you’re young, it’s mostly about you; how you’re treated, what boy/girl your parents don’t approve of, that sort of thing. On the other hand as you age, it’s becomes more about society and grander considerations like politics or religion. Any feelings of detachment and disenfranchisement can be compounded by poor income and education; again same conditions, different century.
So who stops such an exodus? More than only the Muslim clergy that Obama and others have called to action, it’ll take a team effort involving parents, family, friends and civic leaders in the forefront followed by entertainers, politicians and other members of various segments of society. In fact, it’s the social circle that could make the most impact. Let’s say, it did for me when I was coming up.
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Besides my parent’s entreaties to stay safe at home, the Temptation’s song Runaway Child scared the bejesus out of me; but then I was a practical kid, not very adventurous. Still, it was the lyrics and how they spoke to such childish futility as thinking the grass was greener elsewhere that kept me grounded close by.
Young Muslims are no different than young Christians or young Jews in such universal matters. Let’s just say that entertainers-singers, dancers and comedians- can hold as much influence-at least a portion- over young people as their clergy can, regardless of denomination.
And when all else fails, it has to be the lifeline of friendship that saves the day. Many of these young lords of flies readying themselves to act out their darkest fantasies put their plans on Facebook or some other social media beforehand. Sometimes, family and friends notice such plans and do nothing to thwart them and many times, if IS enrollment numbers are to be believed, family and friends notice such plans and don’t do enough.
But what can family members do apart from confining their loved ones in as harsh a manner as necessary? Such measures may only strengthen the person’s resolve. On the other hand, it could be argued that it was only after incarceration that Shannon Conley got the time-out sufficient enough to allow her to determine that she was being influenced by individuals corrupting the Koran.
Everyone agrees though that it’s a slick message that IS putting out; a message that appeals to those seeking that better way. The terror group recently released a guide for female jihadi members of the al-Khanssaa brigade, extolling the virtues of a sedentary, homebound existence in service to the husband.
Such a entreaty to a more pious and meditative life could’ve been just the piece of the puzzle to push the young, idealistic buttons of three Muslim girls from a London neighborhood.