A new study offers what its authors describe is the first comprehensive review of Americans who have been recruited by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The study is based on legal records and social media research conducted by the George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. The report examined social media accounts and legal documents of nearly 400 Americans who sympathize with ISIS, according to the Homeland Security News Wire.
“The phenomenon of Americans joining jihadist groups is not new, but the size of the ISIS-related radicalization and mobilization is unprecedented,” said Lorenzo Vidino, director of the Program on Extremism.
The study finds the following characteristics of ISIS U.S. sympathizers, based on information included in legal documents: Their average age is 26; more than 50 percent traveled or attempted to travel abroad;
According to the Homeland Security News Wire, the report examined more than 7,000 pages of legal documents related to the seventy-one individuals charged with ISIS-related activities in the United States. It found that the profiles of individuals involved in ISIS-related activities in the United States differ widely in race, age, social class, education, and family background. Their motivations are equally diverse.
The report also says there have been active investigations in all fifty states, and U.S. law enforcement officials have made arrests in twenty-one states. It notes the highest number of ISIS recruits were charged in New York and Minnesota.
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