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Low self-esteem, narcissism leading reasons for youth radicalisation

 | May 12, 2017

A study by the Institute for Youth Research Malaysia shows Facebook, Telegram, WhatsApp and WeChat are popular IS recruitment grounds.

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PUTRAJAYA: Low self-esteem and narcissism are among the traits of youths most susceptible to Islamic State’s (IS) influence, a study conducted by the Institute for Youth Research Malaysia (IYRES) has found.

The findings of the study on youth involvement in extremism and radicalisation were presented by the institute’s senior research executive Mastura Mohamad at a forum here yesterday.

“Youths who felt worthless and are not close to their families or friends, as well as those who have the desire to be a hero and gain attention, are often vulnerable to radicalism.

“The other common traits are high aggression, ‘impulsive-seeking sensation’ levels, misconception of religion, and a high desire to change themselves by seeking the easiest way to be pardoned for their sins,” said Mastura.

The findings also stated that parents play an important role in curbing extremists’ influence on youths.

It said parents should, among others, ensure a close relationship with their children and monitor their activities, especially online.

This is because social media platforms, such as Facebook, Telegram, WhatsApp and WeChat, are among the most popular IS recruitment grounds, the study found.

Meanwhile, Supt Ahmad Norisham Ma’arus, of the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division (Investigation and Legal), who was present, warned the public that just by visiting IS-propaganda websites or publications, they risked coming under the radar of the authorities.

However, he said this would not automatically make them suspects.

Ahmad, however, advised that it was best to just avoid these sites as they contained misleading information about Islam and its teachings.


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