Recruiting professionals: Doctors join the ISIS fight

News of British and Canadian medical students travelling to Syria to join ISIS this week took Westerners by surprise.

There are many tales of young people on the fringes of society-- the down-and-out fleeing to Syria to find meaning and purpose in their lives.

See Full Article

Medical students, however, are generally middle class and well-educated. But their training does not preclude them from being recruited to the terror organization.

In fact, it makes them more desired targets.

RECRUITING PROFESSIONALS

This is not the first time highly trained people have gone to Syria. Last June, the Islamic State group put out the call for highly trained professionals, such as engineers, doctors and lawyers to join theircause. In June, a video surfaced of an aspiring British medical student trying to recruit new jihadis to join ISIS.

According to his father, the young Canadian -- identified as Ismail Hamdoun -- had been accepted to four universities to study medicine, but he chose not to go and travelled to Syria instead.

In August came news that an Israeli-Arab doctor who joined ISIS had died fighting with the group. And India was rocked by news last summer of two engineering students, belonging to families of doctors, who took up fighting for ISIS near Fallujah.

What makes this case different, according to Melanie Smith, of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, is that such a large group made the trip together.

LANGUAGE BARRIERS

While ISIS attracts foreign fighters from all over the globe, these new members often don't speak Arabic. English-speaking doctors are needed for these fighters to get the medical care they need.

"The language barrier is a big cause of disconnect on the ground between native inhabitants and Western migrants," Smith told CTV Monday. "These medical students might be able to bridge the gap between these two populations."

A DESIRE FOR CHANGE

Many people leaving to join ISIS are motivated by a desire for change. Doctors are no different, says Afzal Ashraf, of the Royal United Services Institute. “They tend to want to be courageous, and make the world a better place. ISIS represents to them a better world order.”

Still, it is unknown what this latest group of doctors are doing in Syria. “They may just have responded to the fact that there are many innocent civilians within ISIS controlled territories,” says Ashraf. “They could be going to work there to helpwith the humanitarian crisis in the region.”

While it is unclear what exactly their role will be in the region, the call for highly-trained professional to join the terror group continues as the group hopes to build a functioning Islamic State.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Israel to send 1M coronavirus vaccine doses to Palestinians in exchange for future delivery

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Israel said Friday it will transfer around 1 million doses of soon-to-expire coronavirus vaccines to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for a similar number of doses the Palestinians expect to receive later this year. Source
  • India switches rollout policy but still short of vaccines

    World News CTV News
    NEW DELHI -- Starting Monday, every Indian adult can get a COVID-19 vaccine dose for free that was purchased by the federal government. The policy reversal, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, ends a complex system of buying vaccines that worsened inequities in administering the shots. Source
  • Iranians vote in presidential poll marred by disqualified candidates

    World News CBC News
    Iran began voting Friday in a presidential election tipped in the favour of a hardline protege of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, fuelling public apathy and sparking calls for a boycott in the Islamic Republic. State-linked opinion polling and analysts put hard-line judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi as the dominant front-runner in a field of just four candidates. Source
  • Universities and colleges wrestle with mandating COVID-19 vaccines for return to campus

    Canada News CBC News
    Andrew Mrozowski just graduated this week from McMaster University's political science program, but the editor-in-chief of the school's student-run newspaper has already turned his mind to the fall semester. Presiding over The Silhouette's staff of full-time undergrads, Mrozowski says the Hamilton, Ont. Source
  • Canada's largest transplant centre slowly marches toward normal after weeks of 'wasted' organs

    Canada News CBC News
    Last July, Sarah Frazer learned she had two years at most before she would need to replace her failing kidneys. "I was 23 at the time — a 23-year-old girl sitting in a physician's office in Toronto General, being told, like, 'You need to find a new kidney,'" recalled the law student. Source
  • Outrage over developer's plan to buy single-family homes reveals a Canadian fixation

    Canada News CBC News
    In the current overheated dog-eat-dog race to buy a home in Canada, we probably shouldn't have been shocked by the wave of outrage triggered by a big property developer's plan to buy thousands of detached family homes and rent them out. Source
  • Binge or watch live? Viewing habits change as pandemic recedes

    Canada News CBC News
    Adjust your calendars accordingly, Wednesday is the new Friday. According to Disney. The studio recently announced that it will begin releasing all its original series on Wednesdays. Home to many popular Marvel and Star Wars episodic series, Disney+ kicked off the move with the recent launch of the god of mischief's own series, Loki. Source
  • Let me be that person you know in a wheelchair, so we can all think about how to be more inclusive

    Canada News CBC News
    This First Person article is the experience of Codi Darnell, a Vancouver mom who uses a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury. For more information about CBC's First Person stories, please see the FAQ. Source
  • How do you make concrete more environmentally friendly?

    Canada News CBC News
    Hello, Earthlings! This is our weekly newsletter on all things environmental, where we highlight trends and solutions that are moving us to a more sustainable world. (Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Thursday.) This week:How do you make concrete more environmentally friendly?Returning Indigenous lands has ecological benefitsHow scientists mapped a deadly Himalayan glacier flood Source
  • Police smash couple's living room window with armoured vehicle in drug raid that finds nothing

    Canada News CBC News
    Police were doing surveillance on someone Joshua Bennett knew, working up a case she was trafficking drugs. They observed her at Bennett's rural property, northeast of Calgary, on consecutive days in late March of last year. Source