October 22nd, 2014
10:23 AM ET

A Former Jihadist Speaks Out

Why would three American teenage girls from Denver try to join ISIS?

We asked Mubin Shaikh, a former jihadist, to offer context – and he says the answer is a mix of a search for identity, adventure and a false sense of reality.

"You reinforce in yourself this idea that you can participate in something far greater than your mundane existence at home," Shaikh told CNN's Michaela Pereira.

Shaikh now works for Canada's intelligence service but says he can offer perspective on these teens because he once was a young Muslim who came to the edge of extremism.

He was brought back by a support network of parents, friends and religious elders.

"It will take a holistic effort and it can't be done by coercive forces," to reach vulnerable people who may consider extremism, Shaikh said.

In this Denver case, two families called the FBI and the teens were intercepted in Germany.

"It's better that your kid get arrested or at least talked to than be used as a sex slave," Shaikh said.

"A lot of them are living in a fantasy world and just don't understand what awaits them on the other side."


RELATED: Officials: 3 Denver girls played hooky from school and tried to join ISIS


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soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. kkk

    cool beanz

    November 29, 2014 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  2. ron

    we as adults must put these teen girls in a shock and all, so they & others think twice be for joining isis how the f.b.i saved there life & women hood if had not been for the f.b.i. my spirit could leave my body a gift from jesus. my neighbor in california where i once livied was doing meth, he got the message that there is a god. but remember we are just human.just can not say to the 3 girls do not go there. shock the mind, so there spirit guides them through life. the brain is just a highly built computer system with many wires that man will never understan the fullnes of the brain power, that we have. the 3 girls are babies still, but they must understan what life is about. also, the blood that was shed on this holy ground are ancestors battled demons. so you the girls have a better way of life, for the future of the ones to come and live now in the united states of america. so the girls could have the freedom of choice and the great gift god gave us all. power to the people who vote..

    November 4, 2014 at 2:18 am | Reply

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