Middle East (MNN) — While ISIS continues to recruit new members around the world, some members are actually leaving the group.
Perhaps the Islamic State is not all it’s cracked up to be?
Tom Doyle, Vice President and Middle East expert with E3 Partners, just returned from the Middle East. He tells MNN what he’s been hearing about ISIS member trickling out the back door. “There are some who are displeased. For them, it’s about identity. They got involved, it’s not exactly what they thought it would be. We have leaders who are talking to former ISIS people who have left. They are very careful about their background. But, they’re searching for meaning.”
The news this week seems to support this. According to reports, “Jihadi John” has left the terrorist group. He’s the English-speaking member seen in photos and videos of torture and beheadings. It’s not clear if he left because he’s fearful of attacks from the West, or if he has given up terrorism.
Doyle says ISIS has actually been good for outreach to the Muslim world. “We are seeing that it is also repelling people from the religion of Islam because the majority of the Muslims in that region didn’t really grow up with this aggressive kind of Islam. Many people are giving some serious push-back.”
Doyle also says some have left ISIS because of bombings: “[In] some areas they’ve hit some leaders. and I think it’s brought some discouragement to ISIS. [Some have left]…and as far as we know, Jihad John has left.”
The number of women traveling to the region to find husbands is also declining. “They get there and find out they’re a sex slave, or they end up dead. Some of them are leaving. They’re seeing what it really is. It’s about hatred, control, and domination. It’s really controlled by Satan himself.”
Today there are millions of people from Muslim backgrounds who are displaced and have become refugees. E3 Partners is partnering with churches to provide help and hope. “People are damaged emotionally,” says Doyle. “The church is there to rescue people because of the compassion that Jesus has for them. The church is there for them.”
One man told Doyle, “The only people that treat us nice are the Christians. People in my own religion don’t treat us nice.”
Doyle adds, “We know…that if we love them and we reach out in Jesus’ name with no strings attached, they’re open to the Gospel.”