[Reader-list] Jihadi Cool: Terrorist Recruiters' Latest Weapon - by DINA TEMPLE-RASTON

anupam chakravartty c.anupam at gmail.com
Tue Mar 30 18:01:26 IST 2010

this clearly means that americans are funding jehad knowingly or
unknowingly. thanks Pawan for posting this gem of a piece.


On Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 12:29 PM, Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com> wrote:
> http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125186382
> March 26, 2010
> With so many terrorism cases emerging in the U.S. in the past nine
> months, experts are trying to understand why so much is happening now.
> One explanation has less to do with religion than with adventure. The
> latest wave of jihadists traveling to Pakistan and elsewhere for
> training may have been motivated by a sense of jihadi cool.
> The recent Jihad Jane case may be the latest example of this trend.
> Colleen LaRose, 46, was a housebound woman from the Philadelphia area.
> She converted to Islam, but investigators say she was never connected
> to any particular mosque. Even her live-in boyfriend says he didn't
> know she was Muslim.
> And yet, she is accused of calling herself Jihad Jane in Internet chat
> rooms, and soon after her conversion allegedly went trolling for
> people who might join forces with her to wage jihad on behalf of other
> Muslims.
> Recruitment More MTV Than Mosque
> That's a far cry from what is seen as the traditional route to jihad.
> It used to be that jihadi recruitment videos opened with the call to
> prayer and readings from the Quran.
> These days, many of them are decidedly less religious. They look more
> like something that would appear on MTV.
> If you type "jihadi rap videos" into any Internet search engine,
> you'll find dozens of videos with thumping bass lines and forced
> rhymes about beheading non-Muslims and making them pay for the
> indignities they have leveled against Islam.
> Traditionally, jihadi recruitment videos opened with the call to
> prayer and readings from the Quran. Now, they look and sound more like
> something that would appear on MTV and seem to be targeting people
> with resentments and who are seeking thrills.
> The productions are clearly aimed at young people nursing resentments
> and looking for thrills. One video raps about the "angels in green,
> helping the mujahedeen" while cutting to photographs of prisoner abuse
> at Abu Ghraib and homemade videos of holy warriors firing
> rocket-propelled grenades in the desert and shooting up cars with
> machine guns.
> 'A New Generation Of Lazy Muslims'
> Intelligence officials say there is a wave of young people who are
> attracted to the adventure of jihad but would like to skip all the
> rigors of Islam, such as reading the Quran and fasting.
> "I think what we are seeing is sort of what I like to term a new
> generation of lazy Muslims," says Arsalan Iftikhar, a human rights
> lawyer and the former national legal director of the Council on
> American-Islamic Relations.
> "These are people who might not be theologically devout or even have a
> sound religious foundation, but they are using this new jihadi cool to
> justify criminal acts of terrorism," Iftikhar says.
> Experts who study these kinds of movements say that while religion may
> be an initial motivation to sign up, in the fullness of time, it
> becomes less important.
> Seeking Adventure
> Consider the case of the two dozen young Somali-Americans from
> Minneapolis who were recruited to join a militant group in Somalia a
> couple of years ago.
> Initially, investigators say recruiters used a religious pitch.
> Ethiopians — who were largely Christian — had invaded Somalia, a
> Muslim country. The young Minnesotans were told it was their duty,
> both as Somalis and Muslims, to go to Somalia and fight there for an
> Islamist group called al-Shabab.
> We have ethnographies where they actually ask militants what drew you
> to this movement. The top three answers were motorcycles, guns and
> access to women. You had to go pretty far down the list to get to
> religious motivation.
> - Christine Fair, Georgetown University
> When the Ethiopian troops withdrew, FBI officials say the pitch
> changed. Recruiters told the young men that going to Somalia would be,
> in their words, fun. The young men would get to shoot guns. They would
> become jihad warriors. It would be cool.
> Christine Fair is a professor at Georgetown University who is an
> expert in these kinds of religious movements. She says jihad chic is
> not so unusual.
> "We have ethnographies where they actually ask militants what drew you
> to this movement," she says. "The top three answers were motorcycles,
> guns and access to women. You had to go pretty far down the list to
> get to religious motivation."
> The Web And Jihad Warriors
> The Internet appears to have made signing up for a holy war infinitely
> easier — and because it is open to all comers, the standards have
> dropped. People who might not have even considered becoming a Muslim,
> much less turning to jihad, can do both with just the click of a
> mouse.
> That's what officials think happened with Jihad Jane. They allege that
> she trolled the Internet while she was housebound, caring for her
> boyfriend's ailing father, and that signing up for a holy war was
> something that attracted a lonely woman. It gave her something to
> belong to, officials say.
> "Just putting my human hat on, I don't think it is remotely remarkable
> that Jihad Jane happened," says Fair, who is also a fellow at West
> Point's Combating Terrorism Center.
> "In fact, if you sort of think about misfits — I'm a social misfit so
> I feel somewhat comfortable saying this — the Internet is one of the
> best places for social misfits to reside," Fair says. "They can be
> whomever they want to be, so I am just surprised we haven't had more
> Jihad Janes."
> This is not to minimize what is going on for the past year on the
> terrorism front. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, 2009 was the busiest year
> for U.S. counterterrorism officials. They prosecuted more than a dozen
> cases; the annual average is generally one-third of that.
> FBI Director Robert Mueller says the Internet is partly to blame for
> speeding up the recruitment process. He says the Web now not only
> radicalizes young Muslims but helps connect them to organizations that
> launch attacks. Jihadi cool may be a different motivation for taking
> up arms, but it isn't necessarily any less lethal.
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