New Study Shows Arab Youth are Feminists, Hate ISIS
Shoutout to the haters, sorry that you couldn’t phase the Arab youth. Hope for a brighter, more equal future has prevailed in the Middle East and Northern Africa, despite the fact that they constantly experience bombings at home and politicians abroad are attempting to lump all Muslims together as terrorists. A new survey among 18 to 24-year-olds just proved what most people know and many people don’t want to believe, which is that young Muslim people aren’t bloodthirsty murderers ripping away at the moral fiber of democracy with fabric scissors. Shocker.
The Arab Youth Survey 2016’s findings look poised to finally dispel some of the stigma and stereotyping that has become the norm after America’s War on Terror and the global refugee crisis. After 3,500 face-to-face interviews in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, and Yemen, we now have the clearest picture yet of what’s been going on in young Arab communities. The result is that, among other things, ISIS support among youth in those countries is about on par with how much youth voter favor Hillary Clinton in the election.
Almost 80 percent of those surveyed ruled out any possibility of supporting the Islamic State, even if it were to stop being so brutally violent. Also, nearly half said that ISIS is the biggest problem facing their countries and three in four said the group will fail to create the Islamic Caliphate Disneyland they’ve been dreaming about in between drone strikes from the US. Those aren’t good odds considering youth are one of the biggest markets for terrorists-to-be in ISIS now that their Mississippi cheerleader recruitment program is as big a failure as Qwikster.
Actually, the only concern about ISIS recruitment doesn’t have anything to do with religion. When asked what the primary reason for joining ISIS is, half of the countries cited a lack of jobs and opportunities for young people. That’s a major issue given that, in the wake of the Arab Spring, democracy has been put aside in favor of a stronger push for stability. Political unrest leads to economic unrest, which leads to joblessness and lack of opportunities. It’s been a vicious cycle for Arabs across all ages, but it’s hit significantly harder on youth.
Even with these hardships, they haven’t lost hope for creating a better and more equal world. Among both genders surveyed, 67 percent called for Arab leaders to push for an establishment of personal freedom and human rights for women, with Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen showing over 85 percent support.
For many, they’ve looked across the ocean to America as a standard of freedom, though it falls behind the overwhelming admiration for the United Arab Emirates. The only countries that seems to despise America (as much as Donald Trump supporters who miss its alleged greatness) are Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, and Lebanon, which makes sense.
From terrorism and economics to equality and allyship, Arab youth are paving the way for future that we don’t often see portrayed in the media. The threat of ISIS recruitment may not remain a threat anymore, but if this survey is any indication, it’s time we rethink our investments in drone strikes and consider how beneficial it would be to help build our international relationships through education outreach. From America to the Middle East, we’re all in this together.
Images via the 2016 Arab Youth Survey and the Center For Mediterranean Integration.
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