Latest cause of extremism: young men – debunked

In 2013, Sunrise host Andrew O’Keefe tried his hand at terrorism analysis. “The common link is not Islam,” O’Keefe claimed. “It is young men.”

O’Keefe was partially correct, as the most recent news out of Syria and Iraq reveals.

Young Sydney man Ahmed Mohammed Al-Ghazzawi is the latest Australian understood to have been killed while fighting for the Islamic State death cult.

Following his death, believed to have occurred on Boxing Day, dozens of Sydney supporters praised him on social media as a hero.

The influence of online extremist preachers is clearly playing a massive role in Islamic State recruitment. In many cases online extremists are obviously overwhelming whatever calming influences are offered by local Islamic leaders and even parents.

Young Muslim males are particularly vulnerable to online fundamentalist firebrands, who promise eternal paradise to martyrs who die in the name of Islamic State.

When it comes to a broader examination of the atrocities in Syria and Iraq, however, O’Keefe may wish to revise his theory.

While there are plenty of young men fighting for or providing assistance for Islamic State, there are also many children, parents and women. Some of the imams who generate their followers’ extremist bloodlust are middle-aged or older.

And, just like the majority of their victims, all have the common link that O’Keefe denied…