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."