Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Arrest of "radicalized" teen at O'Hare in Chicago stimulates more examination of radicalization in the West


There is a lot of attention to the arrest of an American 19-year-old Mohammed Hamzah Khan, arrested at O’Hare airport with a round-trip plane ticket to Turkey through Vienna.  Authorities believe he would not have come back, and probably would have been put on the front lines in Syria, probably dying in combat soon. Khan, however, says he intended to do humanitarian work.  He was in court today.  The ABC News story with Brian Ross is here.   It was not immediately known what contact bought the plane ticket.
  
Investigators looked at physical evidence in his parents’ home, where Khan left a letter saying that the didn’t want his own kids to grow up in “moral filth” and thought that Americans who pay taxes to support oppression of Muslims share in the guilt.  Again, he seemed oblivious to the brutality of the war in Iraq and Syria. 
   
Peter Bergen and David Sterman have an important piece on CNN, “When Americans leave for jihad”, link here.   Stevan Weine has a CNN column “Stop ISIS from recruiting Americans”, here where he discusses community CVE (countering violent extremism) efforts as well as a program called :Safe Spaces”. I discussed a particularly compelling story about a British jihadist and what he said about "selfishness" here.  
     
One thread is particularly evident, with a lot of aggressive behavior by young males, either in Islamic jihad or vigilante squads hunting down gays in Russia.  They claim that they have to “clean up the world” for their future children, an idea I could not experience.  Radical Muslims often claim they are part of a larger body of belief and must respond to attacks on any of that body.  

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