ISIS recruits found to have poor grasp of Islamic faith

Heavily armed ISIS fighters joined by foreign recruits march on a street in Iraq in a show of strength.Reuters

Leaked ISIS employment forms have confirmed that many recruits of the extremist group have very little knowledge of Islam upon entering the organisation.

According to a Fox News report, the documents that were acquired by Zaman al-Wasl were part of the ISIS drive in 2013 and 2014 to recruit more fighters into its fold. It asked the newbies how well they understood the tenets of Islam.

An analysis performed by the Associated Press indicated that at least 70 percent answered that they had only basic knowledge of Shariah. Twenty-four percent had intermediate knowledge while only 5 percent had advanced knowledge.

In an interview, one of the recruits, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the ISIS is not very particular about the exposure of its new fighters to Islam, adding that they are inundated with ISIS propaganda videos. Imams also reportedly visit camp and continuously exalt martyrdom.

"I realised that I was in the wrong place when they began to ask me questions on these forms like 'when you die, who should we call?'" the recruit, who hailed from Europe, said.

According to the report, the ignorance of the recruits on Islam worked to the advantage of the ISIS as they are able to teach them their interpretation of the text.

Based on court documents, those who were charged and convicted for the November 2015 Paris attacks that killed 130 people, including Karim Mohammad-Aggad, were recruited into the ISIS by a man Mohammad-Aggad went barhopping with. He explained that religion had nothing to do with joining the ISIS cause.

"My religious beliefs had nothing to do with my departure. Islam was used to trap me like a wolf," he said, according to court documents.

For his part, Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan called on Muslim scholars to challenge the radical interpretation of Islam being propagated by the ISIS.

"These are people distorting the message, not being equipped religiously speaking. Muslims around the world have the duty to respond to this in a very articulated way," he said.