The militants are impoverished and uneducated. Lifelong religious fervor drives them to embrace jihad. Al Qaeda aggressively recruits and brainwashes the men.
Those ideas are tempting but incorrect, argues Marc Sageman, a CIA veteran turned forensic psychiatrist. In a book based on 172 case studies of so-called holy warriors, Sageman concludes that social bonds are a more vital force than religion in molding extremists. [LA Times]
So it's not just Islam after all, is it? You mean it's not just a clash of civilizations? We love life and they love death? The Qu'ran teaches them to be like this? What a shock!
With the exception of Persian Gulf Arabs raised mostly in devout households, many extremists became religious as young adults, Sageman found. This reinforces his view of the decisive role of the loneliness and alienation of the immigrant experience.
Whether expatriate engineers studying in Germany or second-generation toughs on the edges of French cities, young Arab men find companionship and dignity in Islam. The social connection usually precedes their spiritual engagement, he says. In mosques, cafes and shared apartments, religion nurtures their common resentment of real and imagined sufferings, Sageman says.
Thanks to the Angry Arab
for finding this one.