Amazingly, there are quite a few Europeans fighting side by side the ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Denmark has the largest number of people who have joined and fought with the terrorist organization.
In a bewildering development, the Danish government is not only welcoming its ISIS fighters who are returning home but providing them with rehab facilities and jobs as well.
“They are being much too soft [in Aarhus], and they fail to see the problem,” says Marie Krarup, a member of Parliament from the Danish People’s Party.
Shocking and maddening as it may sound at first, it is actually makes sense when you think about it. Most of the fighters who joined the Islamic State outfit are between the ages of 18 and 26. They probably were attracted to the terrorist organization in the first place because they were disillusioned by their environment and future prospects.
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Aarhus Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard agrees and hence has put all his weight behind this program.
“These are young people who have turned to religion at a very difficult time in their lives, and they are dealing with existential questions about going to fight for what they believe in,” he says. “We cannot pass legislation that changes the way they think and feel. What we can do is show them we are sincere about integration, about dialogue.”
Other countries need to take a page from the Danish book of reason. Rejecting, marginalizing or punishing the wayward youth may be more disastrous in the long run. Anger begets anger. They need an environment where they not only feel loved and welcomed but feel no need to find solace somewhere else. More importantly, they need guidance and counseling.