JAKARTA, Indonesia — In early August, when leaders of several dozen Muslim countries gathered in Jakarta for an annual economic conference, some of the speakers acknowledged that things aren’t looking good for their global community. Chaos continues to grip their heartland in the Middle East, they noted, and anti-Muslim politicians are drawing unprecedented support in Europe, the United States and elsewhere.
Richard Cincotta, a political demographer at the bipartisan Stimson Center who advises the National Intelligence Council on how demographic trends influence the geopolitical landscape, also acknowledged the appeal of radical, often violent, groups to disaffected youths.
“You can’t just generalize to say all these young guys will become terrorists or something,” he said. “But you can say they are available, and vulnerable, and they are in a part of their life where you want to impress your friends when you’re ideologically naive, and you’re searching for an identity that [the groups] are good at providing.”
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