Why did entire Trinidadian families take their children and go to fight with ISIS in Syria and Iraq?
Dr. Simon Cottee, a criminologist at the University of Kent, found some counterintuitive answers to this troubling question in an extensive study on the island.
The situation is unusual, as most ISIS recruits in the West were of young men from European countries.
He found that counter to local belief, the Trinidadians who took their entire families were not motivated primarily by money and were not primarily recent converts to Islam.
Instead, they are a cross-section of the country’s Muslim population, including people from various income levels, and plenty from the longtime resident East Indian ethnicity.
Cottee did find a common link to mosque teachings encouraging local people to take up the fight, and he suggests that it was the idea of a “kind of Islamic utopia” that motivated the minor exodus.