Marginalised Tunisian youth encouraged to choose graffiti over ISIS
It’s lunchtime in the Tunisian city of Kasserine. From plastic chairs at a pavement cafe on the city’s main thoroughfare, a group of young men are watching the heavily-armed guards patrol the city’s best hotel.
Here in Kasserine, security is paramount. It’s only a few hours’ drive east from the Algerian border and the chaambi mountains, a known training ground for Islamic extremists. It’s also one of the poorest cities in the country, where unemployment is rife, especially among young people, making many marginalised young men vulnerable to the lure of extremist recruiters.
As a result, Tunisia is now the largest exporter of jihadi militants in the world. According to the UN, more than 5,500 nationals between the ages of 18 and 35 have joined militant organisations, including Islamic State (Isis) and al-Qaida’s affiliated Nusra Front, across Syria, Iraq and Libya.