Terrorist groups according to (Gerwehr et al. 42), are violent groups which or organizations that seek completely to dominate and influence the lives of members. Recruits are individuals who have gone beyond minimal exposure to terrorism activities of a given group, and have been incorporated and well acquainted to the doctrines of that particular group. Potential recruits, on the other hand, are those who are identified by terrorists as being fit and ready for recruitment into terrorism activities. Others may be those who decide to join terrorism groups without coercion from other parties. These usually are influenced by their environment as well as emotional status.
Models of recruitment
There are a number of models used in recruitment of terrorists into terrorism groups. Selection of a method by a given group depends on the nature of the environment it operates in, the opinion of members in that geographical region about the activities conducted by the group, as well as the level of opposition offered within their environment to counter their activities (Gerwehr et al. 43). Some of the models include:
Under this model, every individual in the population is viewed as a potential recruit. The terrorists thus may send information in the form of handouts, or air their activities through media, communicate their activities to the entire population (Gerwehr et al. 43). Some members of the population may decide to buy the idea of the terrorists while others may not agree with their activities. Those who are compelled to join them may then join the group. The most important consideration is given by the terrorists who choose to use this model in the geographical region targeted. For instance, if the terrorist group comprises of extremists of a culture practiced by the general population, this method may be applicable.
This approach is still used where the general population is viewed as ripe for recruitment. However, the members of the population need some motivation and transformation in personality before they get to join the group (Gerwehr et al. 43). Potential targets are taken through rituals and ceremonies outlining the activities and importance of the terrorism group. Once they are done with the process, some may decide to join while others may still decide not to. Those who reject recruitment, however, are usually affected in some way such that they may be useful in conducting recruitment of other members for the group.
Under this approach, an agent of the terrorist group gets into a target population. The activities of these agents are done secretly. According to (Gerwehr et al. 44), they involve individual contact and convincing of people at individual level to join the group. This method is mostly used by groups that are actively opposed by the government.
The seed crystal
This method is applied in populations where use of an agent or media is impossible, according to (Gerwehr et al. 44). The terrorism group here aims at toning down their activities to make them look appealing to the inaccessible group. The target population with time may then give rise to self recruits, who find no great harm in the activities of the terrorist group. These self recruits once existent may then be the ones to serve as agents in their population.
Effectiveness of approaches
The level of effectiveness of the approach depends on the nature of activities of the group as well as the geographical location of its operations. If the activities of the group are run in an environment where they receive no much opposition, the net is the most effective approach (Gerwehr et al. 43). According to (Gerwehr et al. 44), if the recruitment is conducted within an environment where the group is greatly opposed, then the seed crystal or the infection may be deemed as most effective.
Gerwehr, Scott, and Sara Daly. "Al-Qaida: Terrorist selection and recruitment." The McGraw-Hill Homeland Security Handbook (pp73-89). New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies (2006).