World Bank study of ISIS militant group has surprising conclusions

07 Oct 2016 | By Supriya Kaur

The World Bank conducted a study (WB Study) into the backgrounds, education levels and other socio-economic factors of Islamic militant recruits.

The WB Study, which was based on leaked internal records of the Islamic State group, concluded that those recruited by militant groups were found to be well-educated and relatively wealthy.

It also concluded that recruits aspiring to be suicide-bombers were amongst the best-off.

In context: Surprising findings of research into Islamic militant recruits

AboutISIS militant Group

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is a Salafi jihadist militant group that follows the Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam.

Until 2014, the ISIS was essentially an off-shoot of the al-Qaeda but is now its regional rival.

It was founded in 1999 by Abu Musab, al-Zarqawi.

It has control over extensive territories in Iraq and Syria and rules over 3-8 million people.

March 2016Records of ISIS recruits leaked

'Aspiring jihadists' looking to join ISIS were required to provide information on country of residence, education, marital status, skills, knowledge of Islamic law and previous extremist experience.

Earlier this year, personal information of 3,803 foreign recruits, who had volunteered with ISIS between early 2013-late 2014, was leaked by a disaffected ISIS member.

The former ISIS member handed over ISIS's internal documents to German intelligence.

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07 Oct 2016World Bank study of ISIS militant group has surprising conclusions

ISIS recruits' educational background

DetailsISIS recruits' educational background

The WB Study revealed that 69% of recruits had a minimum secondary level education whereas only 15% had quit schooling before finishing high-school. Less than 2% were illiterate.

Further, recruits hailing from north Africa and Middle East had a significantly higher education compared to their compatriots.

The proportion of recruits who wanted to be administrators and "suicide fighters" was much higher amongst the well-educated.

DetailsSocio-economic background of ISIS recruits

The findings of the WB Study substantiate the growing perception among experts that there is no 'apparent' link between between poverty, educational levels and radicalisation.

Researchers concluded that recruits hailed primarily from five nations namely, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey and Egypt and said, "wealthier countries as measured by their per capital GDP are more likely to be supplying foreign recruits for terrorist groups".

World Bank researchers: Not poverty but social inclusion

Researchers of the WB Study remained certain that "poverty is not a driver of radicalisation into violent extremism" however a "lack of economic and social inclusion" were the most likely factors to motivate people to join militant groups like ISIS and others
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DetailsStudy into militant group of Boko Haram

A recently conducted study of Boko Haram's organisation, an Islamic-militant group in northeast Nigeria, threw up surprising findings concerning recruits' background and motivation.

Contrary to public perception, only 9% of former Boko Haram fighters joined the organisation due to religious reasons. Over 54% stated religion played little to no part in their decision.

However, economic factors like poverty, employment were key motivating factors.