Thursday, May 5, 2011

What causes people to become radical jihadists?

Here is a fascinating article on why young Muslims in Britain became radical jihadists, based on interviews with people who later renounced their radical Jihadist ways and were willing to talk to a reporter about their history.  Much of it dealt with the feeling of alienation and discrimination they felt as Muslims in Britain, a feeling that they didn't belong to the community there.   This was combined with the strong desire to have some identity, to become part of something bigger and more important than themselves.  The right recruiter at the right time tapped into these feelings.   Some of the more fascinating comments dealt with the political events that drove them deeper into more radical and potentially more violent jihadism:

You'd see Bush on the television building torture camps and bombing Muslims and you think – anything is justified to stop this
Alternatively, there were things that shook their belief in radical jihadism:
When they saw ordinary Westerners trying to uphold human rights, their jihadism began to stutter. Almost all of them said that they doubted their Islamism when they saw a million non-Muslims march in London to oppose the Iraq War: "How could we demonise people who obviously opposed aggression against Muslims?" 

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