‘Some youths just want to be heroes’

KUALA LUMPUR: Some youths are susceptible to the lure of Islamic State’s brand of militancy because they want to fulfil their heroic aspirations, says a forensic psychiatrist.

Prof Dr Mohamed Hatta Shaharom said that being young, they have less commitments and dependents and the thought of having an adventure in another country was attractive to them.

With the mindset of getting “a piece of the action” or “following in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad” these youths leave the comfort of home to join in IS’ fight.

“There is a saying, ‘Youth is when the blood is hot’. It is the time in life when they can be clear or unclear about what they want to do in life.

“Being there in Syria makes some of them feel that they are in the centre of the action,” he told the press after a talk on IS Terrorist Mentality: Terrorist Mind = Criminal Mind at the International Islamic University of Malaysia here yesterday.

Dr Mohamed said it would be better for the youths to volunteer for humanitarian missions instead, which would be just as heroic.

He said there were many types of jihad and while military jihad was accepted in Islam, it has its conditions.

“There is a very clear and strict prerequisite to call for military jihad. Defending one’s country is considered a jihad.

“But we can’t call it a military jihad when we do injustice to another human being, regardless of race and religion,” he said.