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A Tomahawk cruise missile is launched against ISIL targets from the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke, in the Red Sea September 23, 2014. Reuters/U.S. Navy/Carlos M. Vazquez

The reason why so many non-religious Somali American youth are ready to kill and die in Syria for the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group may lie not in the Quran, the holy book of the Muslims, but in the functioning of the brain.

Many pundits and politicians in the US claim that the trend of Islamic radicalisation of Somali American youth is fundamentally because of the Islamic faith. However, social psychologist Matthew Lieberman has indicated a link between such violent tendencies and the human brain, reports the Salon.

Citing the example of the Somali American community in Minnesota, the Salon says it is an issue of disconnected youth in the midst of an acute crisis of social identity. It was said that social psychologists and brain scientists do not find a connection between the empathy for ISIS in Syria and widespread religious fanaticism or economic frustration.

Social psychology suggests that young Somali American have been falling prey to sophisticated recruiters due to their own search for identity and acceptance as part of a group. Brain science is found to support the theory, according to the Salon. Together, the two streams of social psychology and brain science show that over millions of years, the human brain has been hard-wired for contact and connection with other people, not as a luxury, but as an absolute necessity for survival.

The brain, says Lieberman, is programmed to feel discomfort and distress in the event of the loss of social connections and to experience contentment, happiness and security as a result of positive interactions and formation of new bonds.

Meanwhile, a leading think-tank claims that more than half of the rebel fighters in Syria who are opposing President Bashar al-Assad are sympathetic toward ISIS.

According to the Centre on Religion and Geopolitics, efforts to wipe out ISIS in Syria and Iraq would not be successful in eliminating the global extremist threat since such views are commonly found among Syrian fighters of all faiths.

At least 15 militias, amounting to 65,000 fighters, could fill any vacuum resulting from a defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, says the think-tank, according to the Guardian. It further said that about 60 percent of fighters in rebel factions in Syria have been identified with a religious and political ideology similar to that of the terror group.

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