The issue of recruiting youth to conflict zones from Tunisia has gained international attention. This issue began amidst the proliferation of religious discourse within Tunisian mosques during the early years of the Muslim Brotherhood‘s rule (2011-2013).
Recruiting Youth for Terrorism
Reports from Tunisia have revealed the arrest of an Italian-Tunisian young man who was monitored for attempting to recruit Muslim .and Arab youth in Italy and sending them to conflict zones in Syria and Iraq under the pretext of “joining jihad.”
Official judicial, security, and diplomatic authorities have not commented on this incident. However, it has brought the issue of thousands of Tunisian and Maghreb youth back to the forefront. These youth have been accused by American and European military. and security sources of joining terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003. and later following the arming of the Libyan and Syrian oppositions in 2011.
The Severity of the Issue
Over the past decade, this issue has grown in significance in Europe and Maghreb countries, especially after a series of terrorist attacks targeted tourists and civilian targets in France. several European countries, Turkey, and Tunisia.
Tunisian sources estimate that around 6,000 Tunisians have been sent to join terrorist groups, including the Islamic State (ISIS). Secular parties have accused Ennahdha of actively seeking to recruit Tunisian youth to join conflict zones and terrorism abroad.
Involvement of the Ennahdha Brotherhood
Dr. Mondher Guefrach, a Tunisian political analyst .and president of the “Path Correction Front” in Tunisia, stated that hundreds of religious associations in Tunisia. linked to the Muslim Brotherhood movement. were involved in the process of recruiting youth to terrorism. Many of these associations have been dissolved after their links to terrorist acts and individuals were proven.
He added that Tunisian authorities are still investigating this dark issue. and the coming days will reveal serious revelations that will expose many Muslim Brotherhood figures who paved the way and concealed the involvement of those who recruited youth and sent them to conflict zones. All these files will be reopened. and a major earthquake will expose the dark decades.
In June of the previous year. the counter-terrorism judiciary issued decisions to freeze the financial assets of several figures. including the head of the Ennahdha movement, former Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali. and former Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem.