Here’s some encouraging news: ISIS is reportedly seeing a steady decline in its support from younger Arab men and women in the past two years. A new poll shows that, in fact, an overwhelming number of Arab teens and young adults oppose the terrorist group, with 80 percent ruling out any possibility of supporting the Islamic State even if it were to renounce its brutal tactics. Last year, only 60 percent reported that same view.
According to the Washington Post, the poll—which was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 3,500 respondents ages 18 to 24—revealed that young Arabs are increasingly fearful of the group while simultaneously less swayed by its propaganda. More than 50 percent the participants ranked the Islamic State as the forefront problem facing the Middle East. While the participants clearly realize the gravity of their situation, 75 percent said they believed that the group will ultimately fail in its quest to establish an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria—a surprisingly hopeful statistic.
What’s more surprising though, is the primary motivation young Arabs think is responsible for pushing people into ISIS. When asked why Middle Easterners join the group, the survey suggests that religious fervor plays a secondary role, at best. The survey participants listed joblessness or poor economic prospects as the top reason. Only 18 percent cited a “belief that their interpretation of Islam is superior to others,” and nearly as many cited sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shiites as the chief motivating factor.