Many ISIS Recruits Have Mental Illness

Many ISIS Recruits Have Mental Illness

With the recent arrest of a supposed ISIS sympathizer in New York, researchers are seeing a big undercurrent of young men who wish to join this terrorist organization. Many of the young men have a past history of mental illness and criminal actions.

ISIS Recruits

According to Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham University’s Center on National Security, approximately 20 of the 70 individuals charged with wishing to join ISIS over the past 20 months have criminal records and more than a handful of them have been diagnosed with mental illness and have had treatment with psychotropic medications.

She stated, “In a number of the 70 ISIS cases, there is an intersection of factors including youth—25 and under—with criminal records, diagnosed mental instability, sometimes medicated, and proclivity to violence.”

Federal officials in Rochester, NY announced charges against Emanuel Lutchman, 25 years of age, for allegedly plotting a NYE machete and knife attack on diners at a local restaurant in the name of ISIS.
Lutchman, is an ex-convict and Muslim convert. He has been charged with attempting to provide material support to the terrorist group. Mr. Lutchman had served a five-year sentence in state prison for robbery and also had “mental hygiene” arrests, prosecutors stated.

Beverly Carridice, the suspects grandmother told news media outlets that he had been plagued by psychiatric issues since childhood and had recently stabbed himself in the stomach during an attempted suicide. She also stated he had been prescribed unspecified psychiatric medications, but was not taking them the last time she saw him in August.

The Fordham Center’s review of court files, particularly defense motions, has found that many of those being charged in other cases have been treated with the anti-depressant Zoloft. At least one suspect was taking Risperidol, which is used for the treatment of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Greenberg noted the case of Nicolas Teausant, a Sacramento man who pleaded guilty earlier in December 2015 to one count of material support. Teausant’s defense attorney at first was successful at getting him declared mentally incompetent, but the ruling was reversed and he was found able to stand trial by a federal judge.

His attorneys claimed he had a mental illness that made him especially vulnerable to the informant used in the case, but that he had no real plans of joining the terrorist organization. Teausant is due to be sentenced in March 2016, but it being reported that he has had delusions that he was a second-hand freemason and a member of the Army National Guard.

Mental Illness and Conclusion

The Georgetown University Security Studies Program released a report on lone-wolf terrorism. The team noted lone-wolf terrorists were “likely to suffer from some psychological disturbance,” and may seek extremist world views to give them a sense of purpose and identity.

Earlier in 2015, a top Scotland Yard Official spoke at a terrorist conference and said it was no accident some of the ISIS’ recruits have psychiatric problems.

Through the use of social media, ISIS targets “the vulnerable, people with violent backgrounds, very young people and those with mental health issues.”


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