How does ISIS target young Americans? - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

How does ISIS target young Americans?

(PHOTO: Butler County Jail) (PHOTO: Butler County Jail)
FOX19 -

It seems incomprehensible to most Americans. Why does a man who grew up in the United States want to join a group set on destroying this nation?

Christopher Cornell, from Green Township, confessed last week to an alleged terror plot against the U.S. Capitol in a phone interview with FOX19 NOW.

Cornell has joined a group of American teens and young adults who have pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State.

Retired military psychologist, Col. Larry James, said two common themes arise in these young adults.

"Two common threads, their anger and they are lost," Col. James said. "It just takes the right person to come along and to radicalize or indoctrinate them."

Modern technology has played a major role in the recruitment of Americans. In Cornell's case, alarming social media posts were warning signs that pointed the terror suspect to FBI authorities.

"The ISIS idealogy is actually a very powerful idea, and it does lend itself to an empowering kind of message," said Richard Harknett, the head of the political science department at the University of Cincinnati.

Harknett said ISIS recruits disaffected, unconnected people a lifeline of community and acceptance.

"It is a sense of belonging. It is a sense of internalizing the values of that group," said Harknett.

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    (PHOTO: FOX19 NOW's Ben Katko)(PHOTO: FOX19 NOW's Ben Katko)
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