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Elm Magazine’s issue on “Religion” describes learning within ISIS

Media release.
Published: 30-May-2016 03:56 pm
Publisher: Kansanvalistusseura

The Islamic State (ISIS) uses a variety of brainwash techniques on both its recruits and school children in its area. These include isolation from the outside world, top-down learning and controlled religious debates. This and other topics were covered in Elm Magazine’s theme issue on Religion and adult education.  


The Islamic State is the new face of global terror, with its acolytes carrying out attacks across the Middle East and Europe. But it is often forgotten that the organization is also a slick educational machinery, responsible for school education in its occupied areas, as well as the brainwash of its jihadist recruits.

Elm Magazine, a free online media for adult education professionals, interviewed jihad researchers Juha Saarinen and Charlie Winter about ISIS indoctrination techniques for the media’s theme issue on “Religion and adult education”.

Isolation and hypocritical disdain for modern science

Once in ISIS, a recruit is isolated from his or her former existence and identity. Cellphones are confiscated and names are often changed, the researchers reveal. 

In ISIS, religious learning is obviously very valued. There are Islamic study circles, but these would be carefully monitored with no room for open debate.  

There is disdain for modern science but according to Charlie Winter there seems to be a  double standard.

- I recently read an ISIS text describing modern science as “pointless”. "Why is the Western world obsessed with studying the roots of trees or grains of sand…?”, it asked. But the same text praised modern science as “...very useful if it is useful for muslims”.  

Children learn by repetition

The Islamic state operates schools for children in its territory and subjects such as history, geography and physics are taught at primary school level. Learning is top-down and based on repetition and memorizing.

- Learning within ISIS, for children, youth and adults alike, aims only at indoctrination into the jihadist cause, the researchers confirm.

Read the whole article here


Education as “religion” of the secular West?

In addition to learning within ISIS, Elm Magazine’s “Religion” issue covered a variety of topics ranging from an overview of the links of religion and adult education in Europe to an article by Norwegian Professor Geir Skeie on the current status of education in the Nordic countries.

Skeie argues that education has taken on ‘religious’ features in the secular Nordic societies, promising a solution to almost every societal problem. According to Skeie, the reasons to this lie in the region's protestant tradition.


Read the whole issue on Religion and adult education


Elm Magazine is a free, independent online media for adult education professionals, published by the Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation. Elm focuses on global learning trends, policy and research and is a free resource for educators, advocates, decision makers and journalists interested in European and global education topics.


More information: Managing editor Markus Palmén: markus.palmen@kvs.fi


Follow Elm at FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.



Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation – Lifelong Learning is the basis of society!

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