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How terror outfits pick soldiers for jihad

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru | December 23, 2008 16:16 IST

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It is often believed that terror outfits prefer youth with a religious bent of mind to take up the path of jihad. However, a 50-page recruitment manual -- Art of Recruitment: How to become a complete jihadi -- used by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [Images] and other terror outfits states otherwise.

According to the manual, the recruitment process is covered in three phases. The most important part of the recruitment process involves recruiting non-religious youth as it is easy to convince them into taking up the path of jihad. Terror outfits feel such youth do not have any commitment to theory or ideology.

Experts point out that individuals, who know Islam well, would not subscribe to the theories preached by a terror outfit; for them, terror outfits have redefined the meaning of jihad.

Recruiters also prefer youth, who have recently committed themselves to religion. It is apparently easy to convince Islamic converts to Salafism (a group of extremist Sunnis who believe they are the only correct interpreters of the Quran) from other denominations of Islam. Recruiters feel such individuals would not know much about the realities of the religion and more willing to adhere to the Salafi jihad movement.

The manual lays special emphasis on the fact that the handler, who is in charge of recruitment, ought to be in direct contact with the individual willing to join the movement. He has to meet with him constantly and work closely with him so that he is able to identify the frustrations and weaknesses of the candidate.

The manual stresses on recruiting college and school students. However, there is a strict word of advice to avoid misers, disloyal youth and loud mouths.

It lists three points on how the handler is to ensure that the youth is taken into the jihadi fold. The responsibilities of the handler include:

  • He must ensure that the candidate takes up the religious path as has been preached to him.
  • He should ensure that the candidate becomes pious. Care should also be taken care of the fact that the candidate has no bias towards any political group.
  • He should remain in close contact with the candidate. He is expected to go to the mosque with him and meet him for lunch every day during the three-week recruitment process. While at lunch he is expected to discuss with him Islamic affairs and also about the path of jihad. The brainwashing process commences at this time.
  • He is also required to keep a constant tab on the movements of the candidate. The handler is also supposed to know who the candidate meets.

The third and the final phase of the recruitment is the most crucial. This is the phase when the actual brainwashing process commences. The handler lays a lot of emphasis on notions like hell and heaven. The candidate is repeatedly told that only the path of jihad will get him into heaven. He is also told that if the path of jihad is taken, his face will glow after his death apart from getting heavenly virgins after his death.

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