This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Islamist Radicalization Simplified

"The 'why' question is natural and I think it feeds an instinctive human need. But we're never going to figure the why part out. Understanding that would mean it could be recognized and dealt with."
"Violent radicalization may be complicated, but it is usually detectable -- if you know what to look for."
"Terrorism was around back then but we didn't pay a lot of attention [decades earlier]."
"Differences and disagreements about Canadian government policies are not uncommon in this country. The threat lies not in the differences of opinion but in the belief that Canada has an overt animosity toward Islam and therefore must be punished through acts of terrorism."
"It is my hope that by learning what the indicators can mean, people best positioned to detect them in their early stages will be empowered to not ignore them but act."
"In most cases what really impressed me was how engaged people were [in the Muslim community]. They know it's happening in their midst, they're a little bit confused about it."
"[Employment, education and integration] do not correlate with lower levels of radicalization. [The] oft-pronounced view that extremists have a poor grasp of Islam and only need to be nudged [or coerced] back to the true path is overly optimistic."
Phil Gurski, former intelligence analyst, retired

The publication of a book by the former Communications Security Establishment employee and later Canadian Security Intelligence Service officer, titled The Threat From Within: Recognizing Al-Qaeda-Inspired Radicalization and Terrorism in the West, hopes to alert the general public and more particularly, people from within the Muslim community of the characteristics adopted by people who have become radicalized.

To identify them to be enabled to intervene; to work with them in an attempt to de-radicalize, or to contact intelligence authorities and police to alert to their presence.

Mr. Gurski's three decades with official groups as a Canadian intelligence analyst does place him in a fairly unique position to describe a process that remains a mystery even to him; the pathology of Islamist paranoia that leads to violent jihad. Just exactly how and why, where and when supposedly normal people become entranced with violent jihad and undertake what they see as an obligatory role in defending Islam against the malign intentions of non-Muslims is a mystery to all Western governments.

And it is not a mystery that will be cleared up any time soon, and certainly not with the aid of this book. Mr. Gursky cautions readers that the people who have pledged themselves to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as an example -- people who are capable of committing gruesome atrocities, claiming that what they have done in the service of Islam is permissible and even needful, and those who support them within the Muslim community are not 'monsters'. "They are us", he holds; ordinary people.

Ordinary people who have succumbed to the the belief that the non-Muslim world is out to destroy the world of Islam. And it then becomes an absolute requirement that all believing Muslims leave their ordinary lives to embark upon a life dedicated to avenging the perceived wrongs done to the Islamic world, and the wrongs yet to be imagined. Terrorizing Western agencies and civilians by murder and mayhem, by disrupting the Western equilibrium has its telling effect, and such missions whether they reach their goal of slaughter or are apprehended before succeeding, all succeed in adding to the terrorism-success file.

No one template exists for motivating the susceptible to become jihadists But he has assembled a roster of "tangible, observable behaviours and attitudes" linked with radicalization. Signals are there, they just have to be read: "a sudden increase in intolerant religiosity", for one. The rejection of alternate interpretations of Islam diverting from jihad. The new converts to jihad will isolate themselves from non-Muslims, refuse contact or to deal with their businesses. They condemn outright the Western way of life and democracy in particular is anathema. Homosexuality and gender equality represent another symbol of Western degeneracy.

The politics of the West disguise "an anti-Islamic crusade". Western military intervention in the world of Islam represents war on Islam. Travel to conflict zones becomes a burning desire. An obsession with jihadist websites, with the al-Qaeda narrative, with martyrdom and the end-of-times, are all representative of typical radicalization. And oops, did we really need a book by a seasoned Canadian intelligence retiree to tell us the obvious?

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