Millennials were both the perpetrators and victims of the terror attacks in the French capitalby Serena Kutchinsky / November 22, 2015 / Leave a comment
Call them Millennials. Call them Generation Y. Call them whatever you like, but please don’t call them the future until they take responsibility for the present. That was the message delivered by Bob Geldof at the opening ceremony of the One Young World summit—a global gathering of future world leaders that took place this week in Thailand. “This generation, your generation is already stained with blood. Your age group are the killers of Syria,” he said in a solemn speech that called on young people to take a more active role in the fight against terror.
He has a point.The average age of a male Jihadi foreign fighter is between 18 and 29 years old, according to a study by US-based security and intelligence consultants, the Soufan Group. Those suspected of waging war against their contemporaries in Paris on 13th November were all in their mid to late 20s, the attacker who opened fire on the train from Amsterdam to Paris in August was 25, the gunman who killed two people in Copenhagen after a shooting spree at a free speech debate and a synagogue was just 22. Around 6,000 Europeans have so far left the liberal societies they grew up in and joined Islamic State, which Majid Nawaz, the founder of the Quillam Foundation—the world’s first counter terrorism think tank—described in a speech to the summit as “the worst terrorist group in history.”
Despite living in the digital age, with all the potential for collaboration and connection it engenders, Millennials are largely failing to forge an interfaith narrative to counter the doctrine of al-Baghdadi’s death cult. But, there are a few young voices fighting to be heard. Among them is the French activist, François Reyes, 19, who set up the innovative think thank, Réveil Citoyen (Citizens Awakening), in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo atrocities. Dedicated to promoting dialogue between different cultures and faiths, the work of Reyes and his growing team of volunteers has won plaudits from politicians across France including President Hollande.
Speaking at One Young World, which welcomes 1,500 representatives from 196 countries, Reyes said:…