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On January 21, 2015, a pro-ISIS Twitter account reported that John Maguire, a twenty-three-year-old university dropout from the Ottawa Valley town of Kemptville, had been killed fighting Kurds in the Syrian city of Kobani. A few weeks before, Maguire had appeared in a YouTube video threatening Canada for bombing ISIS forces in Iraq. He is one of the dozens of young Canadians who have chosen to fight in a vicious conflict that has little to do with them or with Canada. ISIS is now a go-to cause for alienated young people in the Islamic world and the West. This book examines the lure of this radical Islamist movement: its religious beliefs, sophisticated propaganda and vast social media networks. Does it offer answers to troubled young people? Are ISIS’s crimes—slavery, murder, rape, repression and the destruction of heritage sites—an attraction in and of themselves? What do we do about the people who take up ISIS’s cause but stay in their home country? What do we do with the ISIS recruits who come home? The Killing Game examines what draws young men and women to join violent social and political movements. It looks at the psychology of young men and women today and the propaganda used by all sides in the Middle East conflicts, as well as the security laws and political initiatives that have been implemented to prevent Canadians from becoming radicalized.
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