Libyan mosques have fallen victim to the ISIS terrorist group which has turned them into centers for the recruitment of militants, an Egyptian study said.
“The organization has worked on recruiting some imams” so that they lure young men into the fight alongside the extremist group in Syria and Iraq, it said.
An imam has been recently arrested in the Libyan capital Tripoli on such charges.
The report, headlined “How ISIS Took Advantage of Mosques in Libya,” said that since chaos spread in the country in 2011, extremist groups have taken control over several regions, which has resulted in mosques being run by such organizations.
The researchers said that ISIS began influencing the minds of young men, mainly in the eastern city of Derna, which is seen as the stronghold of extremist groups.
The main aim of the organization was not just to recruit fighters locally, but also to send them to Syria, they said.
ISIS also resorted to the distribution of fliers in areas that fell under their control to inform residents on the importance of mosques in encouraging and facilitating the travel of young men to Syria.
The report quoted a woman as saying that ISIS sought to recruit her sons through one of Libya’s mosques.
She told the researchers that she had sent her children to the mosque to learn the Quran because schools had shut down due to the deteriorating security situation in Derna. But her sons ended up being recruited by the organization.
The report made some suggestions on how to limit ISIS’ influence through mosques, saying the authorities should raise awareness among the people on the dangers of extremist practices.
It also said that the Libyan government should have full supervision over mosques.