Article from YTN:
“I will die if you won’t let me go.” Why the young Kim went to Turkey
We are yet to know for sure where Kim is and whether he is actually involved in IS. However, if he is involved, we can say he is the first Korean who does so voluntarily. Before further discussion, it seems better to talk about what IS is first. IS stands for Islamic State. What type of group is it?
[Professor Lee Woong-hyuk, 00:32]
It means Islamic State but it doesn’t have actual national status. It is a radical armed group following Sunni Islam and its most distinguished features can be summed up in the 3 Ms(Men, Money, Material).
Independently, it has a vast pool of human resources. In other words, it has lots of foreign mercenaries. The number of soldiers is approximately 30,000. Foreign soldiers make up 25~30% of this number. A lot of recruits come from Europe especially, to participate in jihad, and this contributes to their vast human resources.
Second, it has a lot of money. Known as “oil money,” they attract new recruits via their various oil resources. Third, it has abundant military supplies. These explain the three M’s. The pursuing goal itself is to exercise the caliphate.
When we speak of a “caliphate,” it encompasses all the ideas related to the belief that Muhammad, in close relationship with Allah, holds power over and influence in politics and religion. In other words, IS is pursuing its own goal of recreating the singularly ruled Islamic nation that was prosperous in the past. It is at the same time seeking to spread the physical territory of the religion. Based on some reports, some go so far as to say that IS wishes to enact a world-wide religious cleansing. They are exceptionally violent, but I would like to talk about that more later.
[Critics Lee Dong-hyeong, 02:05]
So, we can’t call IS a nation. It can be considered merely a group united by religious faith.
For being a religious organization, its construction efforts are expanding. Thanks to these efforts, it has considerable strength in capital.
[Critic Lee Dong-hyeong, 02:16]
While it has a solid monetary system, it is hard to say it is a nation. If you look at the IS flag, it says “The only God is Allah.” It is a religious group tied with an extremely exclusive and fundamentalist religious faith. As Professor Lee described it, it is a radical armed group, and it is also very much stuck in the past.
[IS] is committing acts of terror and engaging in war for religious reasons, but the more serious issue is hearing young children talk of their own so-called jihad. The fact that IS is dragging children into jihad and giving them weapons shows that there isn’t even a small amount of ethics left.
This video that was recently released left many in shock. IS gave a gun to a kid who looked like he could be an elementary school student, and let him kill their prisoner. The brutality of the Islamic State has reached an extreme.
[Professor Lee Woong-hyuk, 03:04]
Then it was announced that the kid was Russian. Since the prisoner was a Russian intelligent, the kid was asked to kill the man himself.
Not only that, it admits to using a slave system. In other words, it thinks that women caught in the holy war are just spoils of war, and they can be treated in any way [IS] pleases.
Even if a member of IS is a little boy, he participates in horrendous acts, and encourages others to participate in them, too. This is the character [of the Islamic State] and its cruel side was already well known. It released video showing public beheading of Western journalists. Even worse, it has been involved in the massacre of civilians. IS has killed thousands in Iraq. All of these acts show the Islamic State’s extremism and inhumanity.
In short, it is a terrifying, cruel group. Let’s talk about the teenager, Kim, who went missing in Turkey. There isn’t any reliable circumstantial evidence about whether he is just missing or abducted. This graphic shows the places he had traveled.
He entered Istanbul on January 8th, and at that night he arrived at Kilis, near the Syrian border. Two days later he left the hotel he was staying in, carrying his bag with all of his belongings.
According to the hotel staff, he said Kim was nervous and wouldn’t sit down. Kim was wearing a mask during his stay and was carrying a backpack before he left. On the day he disappeared, he packed his stuff by himself and left the hotel without saying anything to the people he traveled with. Let’s talk about this. We don’t yet know whether he is missing, abducted, or if he actively joined IS, but he left the hotel after packing his things by himself.
[Lawyer Kang Yeon-jae, 05:06]
At first there were some opinions that the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs should put more effort into finding out where he is. As time goes by, however, it is looking more likely that he has joined the Islamic State.
According to the head of the investigation, Kim was traveling with another Korean to Kilis, and after that he was seen with a third person. More crucially, several photos of men holding guns, who looked like IS members, were found on his computer back home. Based on that, there is growing apprehension that Kim might be the first Korean teenager to join IS.
In this situation, do you think it is still appropriate to explore the possibility of him being abducted or just missing?
[Professor Lee Woong-hyuk, 06:05]
While this is the first time it’s been covered in Korean news, when we look at the overall perception of IS, there have been cases where teenagers joined IS due to a misunderstanding that they were fighting a holy war.
For example, a woman in Malaysia went to IS by herself by taking out a loan. A 15 year old German girl went to IS to join the holy war, but she had a lot of problems there. These foreign teenagers were more likely to join IS because they were “lone wolves”. They had trouble fitting into mainstream society, and were seduced by inaccurate information found online, and fooled into [joining IS.]
It’s our hope that Kim wouldn’t do that, but based on a string of coincidences, it doesn’t seem that he really went on a trip. Based on an extensive list of contacts, there are so-called secret groups, and these secret groups reach people through internet postings.
And then, if some teenagers show interest in the posting, the group provides more information. Following the pattern, Kim might follow this group due to being deceived, rather than having been abducted or gone missing. If so, even though diplomatic relations haven’t been established between Korea and Syria, Korea’s intelligence sources or someone should help Kim once he realizes the reality and wants to come back.
To prepare for that situation, a local information network is needed right away, using various foreign intelligence networks to find out where he is located.
At this point let’s find out why Kim went to Turkey and how his life was. According to his family, his father is working as a civil servant. His neighbor said the teen had problems with friends at school, so he worked on GED at home after deciding to drop out of middle school.
His parents were worried about him being a seclusive loner. Before going to Turkey he told his mom that he would study harder when he came back to Korea, but he would commit suicide if she wouldn’t let him go. As his mom thought about it and believed he would be able to focus on studying after visiting Turkey, so she let him go.
But he was only 18 years old, so she had him travel with a 45-year old man who knew a lot about about Turkey and Middle East, who she had met at church. The man and her son were staying at the hotel [in Turkey] together when Kim disappeared with all of his stuff.
[Lawyer Kang Yeon-jae, 09:12]
I wonder why an 18-year-old Korean boy joined the Islamic State. For years, so many IS advertisements have been spreading through social media networks to attract teenagers all over the world. The problem is that they promote IS by glamorizing what IS is doing. Korea is experiencing an IS-related issue for the first time, but there were many cases before of people from China or other countries joining IS.
If the Korean government provided some videos as warning signs to Korean teenagers to let them know the correct information about IS, show what IS really is, and what happens if people joined IS without knowing much about it, it could prevent teenagers from joining. These are teens who want to join IS because of some fantasy that they could be like the main character in an action movie.
I know it seems too late to stop them, but I still think the government needs to spread the message about what IS is and what it really means to join them.
We can’t say for certain what Kim would do, but he was a teenager who couldn’t fit in. Could he have thought people holding guns and wandering the streets with masks on look cool?
[Lawyer Son Soo-ho 10:52]
That is possible. If he has actually joined IS, it would be the first case in Korea but this kind of thing happens often with kids from Western countries and it’s well-known that there are many Western people joining IS. When we look at those people, they generally seem to have a hard time fitting into society and are very isolated.
If we look at the analysis, it’s natural that these kids would try to find a way out, somewhere where they can be accepted, when they are isolated and have low confidence. If anything, the analysis shows that IS is effectively choosing these kids and luring them in. The important thing to remember is that even though people become members of IS, it doesn’t mean that they are considered valuable. They are destined to become human shields.
Even though IS is working in the name of religion, it is a criminal organization that has already crossed the line of freedom of religion. To prevent another second or third occurrence like this, people should keep that in mind.
So IS seems to spread its doctrine through Twitter or Facebook, all while glorifying themselves. IS seduces every young person in different ways. If IS finds someone who is interested in the organization, it privately contacts him or her, provides free housing, and gives [the young men] a fantasy that they can have several wives. Just like lawyer Son said, IS is just using those people as human shields so this isn’t a simple problem.
There are many young people, whether they are American or European, joining IS who are blinded by these things. When you look at the figurse, the most come from Europe and America, but there are also 3,000 people from the African country Tunisia, 2,000 from Jordan and 800 from Russia.
Besides Tunisia, Jordan, Russia, and of course it is a problem here too, there are 130 American recruits, 100 from China and other young people from advanced European countries are all voluntarily joining IS.
[Professor Lee Woong-hyuk 13:03]
In addition to neighboring countries, the common thing among young Europeans joining IS is that they are mostly second or third generation descendants of Islamic immigrants. They find it hard to assimilate into European society and they experience discrimination which they think is unfair. These young people might find some value in the principles of Islamic extremism.
On the other hand, as young people pursue challenges and excitement online, [the Islamic State’s] various indirect education videos posted online look fairly nice. They can’t tell what’s real from what is just online, but if they really go there they’ll become brainwashed.
While some recruits receive brainwashing education that also involves military training in ordwr to fight in the holy war, some are subsequently sent back to their own countries to begin working in underground groups. When they return to their home countries, they are told to spread their version of Islam and carry out orders.
If then, one of the biggest reasons for joining is that teenagers are exposed to so much distorted information on the internet, and are lured in by it, this all stems from having nothing to concentrate their energies on like a job, or the way they are treated is unfair. Social issues in their own countries can work as an indirect cause for teenagers to fall into Islamic extremism.
That’s why it is hard to tell whether he voluntarily joined IS or if he is just missing. No matter how this all really happened, I believe it is the right time to pay more attention to this issue and work to prevent it, not regarding it as just someone else’s issue or something that could never happen in Korea.
Comments from Daum:
[His parents] should have said no, no matter what… Even a guy like that is someone’s child.. Aigo
There are no words for that guy! tsk tsk
I bet he’s really regretting his decision to go there right now. “Ah, I’ve been living so comfortably for all that time. I couldn’t tell poop from dwenjang [fermented soybean paste].” He’s probably thinking he did a fucking stupid thing. Don’t waste our tax money rescuing a guy like that.
A hikikomori spent too much time on the Internet in his room and got lured into IS. His parents let him go to Turkey because he threatened to kill himself. I get the situation now. Sigh, how might the parents have felt…
We should never let Islam into our country.
Why didn’t he just go to the army in Korea then? A fantasy is different from actually experiencing it. He might be missing home after two days. He would be like, “I miss you, mom. Wow, I realize I had a really happy life before.” He will see them killing people and raping women. They will make him murder, too. Pitiful. There will be a time when he will cry as soon as he sees the Korean flag. Do not come back after you learn how to terrorize people, fool. Pathetic.
He’s a naïve kid, but there is a limit to where you can go.
Someone who only finished elementary school cannot live in Korea.
When I first heard about this, I expected to read something about fucking Christians’ evangelism. Kim was born in a multicultural family and only finished elementary school. I wonder if he didn’t go to middle school because he was bullied in elementary school for looking different. He might have been frustrated that he was treated like a foreigner in his own country. He had no close friends to openly talk with. How frustrated he might have been to get brainwashed by a terrorist group on the opposite side of the world and to decide to join them, with whom he couldn’t even communicate well, leaving behind his hometown and parents. I pity him.
His parents most likely could not have even imagined that he went there to join IS or whatever. Maybe they thought he just wanted to visit a foreign country, so let him go to get some fresh air. Those who bash the parents here cannot understand a parental mind even one bit. The thoughtless kid was the problem, not his parents.
Is IS such an easy group to join? Can you just go there? How crappy…
The love-hate relationship where you can’t control your own kid~~
It gets messed up when a religion interferes with politics.
He must be an Ilbe bug. Many bugs will go there and get terminated!
The situation where a child does not respect their parents and the parents kowtow to the child… That is like my younger brother. He was making a fuss studying for a national exam for 15 years and gave it up eventually. Mom was so frustrated but also careful not to offend him. So annoying. He would make trouble even if it weren’t for the exam.