WASHINGTON - There is a new report released that shows ISIS is working to recruit young people to carry out and support terrorist attacks.
Experts say ISIS has been unsuccessful in getting its own members into the United States. Now, they are using social media to recruit young people already in the country and radicalizing them into becoming Islamic extremists and getting them to carry out ISIS-related attacks.
This new report was issued by George Washington University's Program on Extremism. It identifies Virginia as being one of the hotspots.
Earlier this year, a Prince William County teenager pleaded guilty of helping another person travel to Syria to join ISIS.
Ali Amin, a 17-year-old student at Osbourn Park High School, pleaded guilty in June to federal charges that he used bitcoin to raise money for ISIS and used Twitter to help recruit for the terror group. He remains one of the youngest people ever in the U.S. to plead guilty of federal terror charges.
The FBI found that Amin went further by helping 18-year-old Reza Niknejad, also from Prince William County, to purchase a ticket to Syria through money Amin raised on bitcoin.
Amin then drove Niknejad to Dulles International Airport so Niknejad could fly to Syria and join ISIS.
Amin is currently serving an 11-year sentence for providing material support to a known terror group. This case is cited in this report, which details arrests of ISIS-related individuals throughout the country up until last month.
"The tempo of the ISIS arrests has been kicking in the last year,” said Seamus Hughes, deputy director for the Program on Extremism at George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. "Fifty-six individuals this year alone have been arrested for ISIS-related charges and that's an unprecedented number -- the largest number we have had since 9/11."
"We cannot arrest our way out of this problem,” said Lorenzo Vidino, the director of the Program on Extremism. “A strictly law enforcement-based approach to this cannot do the job by itself.”
Researchers at George Washington University spent the last six months pouring over 7,000 pages of court documents on the homegrown ISIS recruits that have been arrested. What they found paints a picture of who these individuals are. The average age of an ISIS recruit is 26 years old. They are 86 percent male and 55 percent have been arrested in undercover operations.
How do they counter this? Experts say there needs to be better monitoring of so-called "keyboard warriors" on social media to stop them before they are recruited by ISIS. Many of these individuals are socially isolated or alone.
They also advise that religious or community groups reach out to these at-risk individuals before they are fully recruited and pose a real threat.