ISIS is worse than Al-Qaeda, it is not going to stay just in Syria and Iraq, they are going to come everywhere where they can create violence, havoc, and they would do anything, Imam Syed Soharwardy of Calgary told RT.
RT: The Islamic State is conducting a massive PR campaign in the Western world. How effective is it, in your opinion?
Syed Soharwardy: The ISIS campaign of recruitment in the Western world has been very successful. They have very successfully recruited hundreds and thousands of young Canadians, Europeans, and Americans. From my own city, Calgary, three young Muslim men have died in Iraq and Syria within the last two months. So it is quite disturbing and alarming, they have been very successful.
RT: The number of Westerners joining the Islamic State is growing month by month. How much danger is the UK and Europe in now that many of these jihadists have returned home?
SS: I think ISIS is a big danger to the entire world. I do not think there are only 50 British people fighting; I think more people from Britain have been fighting there. More than 100 Canadians are fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq, I am not sure how many Americans are there. The number is in the hundreds of thousands of people from the Western world who are fighting there, and they are not going to stay in Syria and Iraq. Al-Qaeda was created in Afghanistan and we can see now what kind of destruction and atrocities they carried out around the world. Similarly, ISIS is worse than Al-Qaeda and they are not going to stay just in Syria and Iraq, they are going to come everywhere where they can create violence, havoc, and they would do anything. My biggest concern is that they have been very successful in recruiting people from the Western world and they will be the one who will be fighting for them.
RT: Why do you think Westerners are being swayed by this propaganda?
SS: There are several reasons. Number one, the policies of the US and other Western governments in the Middle East, which is the main reason. And the exploitation of Muslim youth in the name of Islam, the exploitation of people because they are deprived of the basic needs in the Muslim countries, as well as the discrimination and racism that is perceived by the Muslims in the Western world. All these factors are inspiring the Muslim youth to be attracted to the organizations like ISIS.
RT: How should Europe and the US respond to this kind of PR campaign?
SS: The most important thing that all the Western governments, including the US, should do – [they] should be fair and honest in the Muslim countries, in the Middle East in terms of their policy, strategy and planning. Second thing is that they should stop funding, supporting, training those people who can become nightmare later on for the US and the Western world. Al-Qaeda was funded and trained by the US, and finally what happened, what they did to the US? Similarly ISIS was initially established in Syria by the funding of the US and support from Saudi Arabia. These countries have to understand that when they are going to work with Wahhabi, Salafi and Hardi people, they will become a nightmare for the entire world, and that is what the Wahhabis and Salafis are. These people, whether they belong to Al-Qaeda or ISIS or Boko Haram, all these organizations belong to one sect within the Muslim community. There are different denominations and sects within Islam, and Wahhabis, Salafis are causing this havoc around the world. They are the ones who get recruited by the US, by the funding from Saudi Arabia and they start fighting for a bad cause and then they become a nightmare for the entire world. This kind of short sighted policy has to stop; the Western governments have to understand that these people who will fight for them initially will fight back against them later on.
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