Category: Valerie Greenfeld

Five Myths about Jihadi Radicalization


“You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth,” Winston Churchill famously stated.  The Islamist tiger in the United States is ready to pounce, and until Americans understand this enemy, we cannot even begin to fight back.  Dispelling myths about jihadist radicalization is only the beginning.

Myth #1: Poor, uneducated, downtrodden youths are more likely to become jihadists.

Many school administrators, local politicians, and community members believe that young adults have a greater chance of becoming jihadists if they hail from an underprivileged, deprived neighborhood.  Their solution is to fundraise for after-school programs and free lunches, believing that this will keep the youth “out of trouble.”  This 1960s thinking will not solve the jihadist problem because it is not about money or more programs.  It is about an extreme ideology and belief system.

According to a 2016 World Bank study, most jihadists grew up in a middle-class family and earned at least a college degree.  “There is no link between poverty or educational levels and radicalization.”

According to the Gatestone Institute, “Britain’s MI5 revealed that ‘two-thirds of the British suspects have a middle-class profile and those who want to be suicide bombers are often the most educated.”

Jihadi leaders who used their fortunes and education for jihad include:

  • Osama bin Laden: estimated net worth $300 million, studied at King Abdulaziz University and summer at Oxford.
  • Ayman al-Zawahiri: head of al-Qaeda, was a medical doctor.
  • Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: the “underwear bomber,” had a degree from University College in London.
  • Omar Saeed Sheik: terrorist who was convicted of murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl, attended the London School of Economics.

Fourteen-, fifteen-, and sixteen-year-old girls, all honor students from middle-class families, left London to join ISIS in Syria, where one of them, Kadiza Sultana, was killed in an airstrike.

Myth #2: Radicalized jihadists are deranged, psychopathic criminals.

It seems far-fetched for an American adolescent to willingly leave home to fight for jihad.  Yet three honor-roll high school girls from an upper-class Colorado neighborhood joined ISIS online and planned to board an airliner headed east when they were intercepted (rescued) by the FBI.  In addition, a straight-A, all-American couple (one of whom was a popular cheerleader) planned to celebrate their honeymoon in Syria with ISIS before they were convicted of terrorism.  A single American mother of two planned to join the caliphate, leaving her children as orphans, until undercover FBI agents arrested her.

A RAND Corporation study found that “terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated[,] or afflicted by mental disease.  Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy.  Terrorist leaders tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.”

Psychiatrist and George Washington University professor Dr. Jerrold Post stated, “[N]ormal people, not psychopaths or criminals, generally become radicalized.  Unexceptional people are moved to exceptional violence.”  Crazy people are more likely to be victims of jihadists than members of a terrorist organization.  Yearning for emotional security, purpose, and a routine, many teens are manipulated into believing in fundamentalist Islam and make some very bad decisions.

Myth #3: People are driven to terrorism by religious inequality and lack of social justice.

Jihadi recruiters create strategies to manipulate vulnerable youths by using religious, political, or psychological lures.  College students are particularly vulnerable and may become enamored with a charismatic professor, a political or religious club member, or chat room recruiters.

Social media are the most common avenue for jihadi recruiting.  Quantum Researchers found many reasons for joining jihad, none of which involves social injustice, discrimination, or inequality.  Lonely, isolated teens unsure of their identity, searching for redemption or vindication from sin; thrill-seekers searching for adventure; and justice-seekers hoping to right a wrong are ripe for indoctrination.

Myth #4: Lone wolves are individuals who radicalize themselves online in their basements.

The term “lone wolf” means that the perpetrator of the terrorist attack did so without any affiliation or influence from a larger group, completely on his own.  Terror does not occur in a vacuum.  With opportunities online, in mosques, in schools, at open lectures, and at social events, people don’t become radicalized on their own.

The FBI created the term “known wolves” because suspects were being watched or were on the radar, but police were not aware of behavior warranting arrest.

Extremists do not suddenly become terrorists by reading an article online or meeting someone at an event.  Radicalization is a process that requires an internal and external element together.

First, internally, there may be an emptiness, loneliness, or incompleteness that provides the recruiter the opportunity to exploit the youth who is looking for some relief.  Second, the external element is a radical recruiter, imam, or mosque member who approaches the prospective jihadi.  When the internal and external elements meet, the opportunity to radicalize occurs.  A so-called “lone wolf” may be internally exposed, usually online in a chat room, but must meet a handler to bring him through the radicalization process.

Myth #5: All people have the same values and want the same things.

Which bumper sticker works better for you: “death is art” or “coexist”?

It depends on your values.  Most Western leaders ignore, rationalize, or deny sharia law and the Quran, as if they will change or become negotiable.  But it is undeniable that radical Muslims will never compromise on their endgame as written: complete and total Islamist supremacy.  “Allahu akbar!” means “Our god is greater” (than yours), therefore jihadists seek to convince all non-Muslims, or infidels, to follow sharia law.

All people do not want the same things in life or in death.  Islamists believe they are doing the “right thing” by cleansing the world of the infidel.  When the martyr (shaheed) dies, it is believed that 70 members of his family will receive a “get into heaven free card.”  The so-called martyr himself will receive hero status and 72 virgins.  These extreme jihadist Muslims look forward to death when they can look beyond life on Earth.  Seeking the highest rewards after death, as specifically prescribed in the Quran, is one of the highest Muslim honors.  All of life’s decisions are prescribed by the Quran.

By dispelling myths and understanding ourselves, our adversaries, and the dangers before us, we can better face the security challenges ahead.  Remember the wisdom of Winston Churchill: “[o]ne ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it.  If you do that, you will double the danger.  But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.”  Good advice.

Valerie Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Preventing Radicalization in Our Neighborhoods.  To pre-order the book, go to www.backyardcaliphate.com.

“You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth,” Winston Churchill famously stated.  The Islamist tiger in the United States is ready to pounce, and until Americans understand this enemy, we cannot even begin to fight back.  Dispelling myths about jihadist radicalization is only the beginning.

Myth #1: Poor, uneducated, downtrodden youths are more likely to become jihadists.

Many school administrators, local politicians, and community members believe that young adults have a greater chance of becoming jihadists if they hail from an underprivileged, deprived neighborhood.  Their solution is to fundraise for after-school programs and free lunches, believing that this will keep the youth “out of trouble.”  This 1960s thinking will not solve the jihadist problem because it is not about money or more programs.  It is about an extreme ideology and belief system.

According to a 2016 World Bank study, most jihadists grew up in a middle-class family and earned at least a college degree.  “There is no link between poverty or educational levels and radicalization.”

According to the Gatestone Institute, “Britain’s MI5 revealed that ‘two-thirds of the British suspects have a middle-class profile and those who want to be suicide bombers are often the most educated.”

Jihadi leaders who used their fortunes and education for jihad include:

  • Osama bin Laden: estimated net worth $300 million, studied at King Abdulaziz University and summer at Oxford.
  • Ayman al-Zawahiri: head of al-Qaeda, was a medical doctor.
  • Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: the “underwear bomber,” had a degree from University College in London.
  • Omar Saeed Sheik: terrorist who was convicted of murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl, attended the London School of Economics.

Fourteen-, fifteen-, and sixteen-year-old girls, all honor students from middle-class families, left London to join ISIS in Syria, where one of them, Kadiza Sultana, was killed in an airstrike.

Myth #2: Radicalized jihadists are deranged, psychopathic criminals.

It seems far-fetched for an American adolescent to willingly leave home to fight for jihad.  Yet three honor-roll high school girls from an upper-class Colorado neighborhood joined ISIS online and planned to board an airliner headed east when they were intercepted (rescued) by the FBI.  In addition, a straight-A, all-American couple (one of whom was a popular cheerleader) planned to celebrate their honeymoon in Syria with ISIS before they were convicted of terrorism.  A single American mother of two planned to join the caliphate, leaving her children as orphans, until undercover FBI agents arrested her.

A RAND Corporation study found that “terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated[,] or afflicted by mental disease.  Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy.  Terrorist leaders tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.”

Psychiatrist and George Washington University professor Dr. Jerrold Post stated, “[N]ormal people, not psychopaths or criminals, generally become radicalized.  Unexceptional people are moved to exceptional violence.”  Crazy people are more likely to be victims of jihadists than members of a terrorist organization.  Yearning for emotional security, purpose, and a routine, many teens are manipulated into believing in fundamentalist Islam and make some very bad decisions.

Myth #3: People are driven to terrorism by religious inequality and lack of social justice.

Jihadi recruiters create strategies to manipulate vulnerable youths by using religious, political, or psychological lures.  College students are particularly vulnerable and may become enamored with a charismatic professor, a political or religious club member, or chat room recruiters.

Social media are the most common avenue for jihadi recruiting.  Quantum Researchers found many reasons for joining jihad, none of which involves social injustice, discrimination, or inequality.  Lonely, isolated teens unsure of their identity, searching for redemption or vindication from sin; thrill-seekers searching for adventure; and justice-seekers hoping to right a wrong are ripe for indoctrination.

Myth #4: Lone wolves are individuals who radicalize themselves online in their basements.

The term “lone wolf” means that the perpetrator of the terrorist attack did so without any affiliation or influence from a larger group, completely on his own.  Terror does not occur in a vacuum.  With opportunities online, in mosques, in schools, at open lectures, and at social events, people don’t become radicalized on their own.

The FBI created the term “known wolves” because suspects were being watched or were on the radar, but police were not aware of behavior warranting arrest.

Extremists do not suddenly become terrorists by reading an article online or meeting someone at an event.  Radicalization is a process that requires an internal and external element together.

First, internally, there may be an emptiness, loneliness, or incompleteness that provides the recruiter the opportunity to exploit the youth who is looking for some relief.  Second, the external element is a radical recruiter, imam, or mosque member who approaches the prospective jihadi.  When the internal and external elements meet, the opportunity to radicalize occurs.  A so-called “lone wolf” may be internally exposed, usually online in a chat room, but must meet a handler to bring him through the radicalization process.

Myth #5: All people have the same values and want the same things.

Which bumper sticker works better for you: “death is art” or “coexist”?

It depends on your values.  Most Western leaders ignore, rationalize, or deny sharia law and the Quran, as if they will change or become negotiable.  But it is undeniable that radical Muslims will never compromise on their endgame as written: complete and total Islamist supremacy.  “Allahu akbar!” means “Our god is greater” (than yours), therefore jihadists seek to convince all non-Muslims, or infidels, to follow sharia law.

All people do not want the same things in life or in death.  Islamists believe they are doing the “right thing” by cleansing the world of the infidel.  When the martyr (shaheed) dies, it is believed that 70 members of his family will receive a “get into heaven free card.”  The so-called martyr himself will receive hero status and 72 virgins.  These extreme jihadist Muslims look forward to death when they can look beyond life on Earth.  Seeking the highest rewards after death, as specifically prescribed in the Quran, is one of the highest Muslim honors.  All of life’s decisions are prescribed by the Quran.

By dispelling myths and understanding ourselves, our adversaries, and the dangers before us, we can better face the security challenges ahead.  Remember the wisdom of Winston Churchill: “[o]ne ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it.  If you do that, you will double the danger.  But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.”  Good advice.

Valerie Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Preventing Radicalization in Our Neighborhoods.  To pre-order the book, go to www.backyardcaliphate.com.



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What Has Happened to Minneapolis?


When I lived in Minneapolis, it was a welcoming town filled with hardworking, honest people with family values.  Braving extreme heat, politicians attended the State Fair, shook hands, kissed babies, and ate walleyed pike.  We used to stroll around Lake Minnetonka and talk about the local news, how many mosquitos were biting, and how the Minnesota Twins baseball team fared that year.  Minnesotans made me feel like family and welcomed me for a home-cooked meal.  But according to former FBI agent John Guandolo, life in the Twin Cities is not what it used to be.

Terror struck Minneapolis following a 911 call by Justine Damond, an Australian bride-to-be who was trying to be a good Samaritan by reporting a possible sexual assault.  Apparently, the policeman who responded, Somali-American Mohamed Noor, shot Damond to death when she appeared at the window of his car.  The facts have yet to be explained by Minneapolis police, who are investigating the July 15 tragedy.  But it is evident that some citizens fear backlash against the Minnesota Somali community.  It seems that the police officer was not a terrorist, and he is said to be a good citizen who made a serious, tragic mistake.  The problem in many communities is an enduring fear of terrorism that unleashes frantic emotions, whether warranted or not.

Tensions are high all around the U.S. as terrorist attacks continue to consume the news.  Now Minneapolis is home to the largest number of Somalis in the U.S., with over 125,000 immigrants.  Some native Minnesotans are worried about the violence in their community, and emotions run high in some neighborhoods.

Somalis in Minnesota mosques were stirred up when al-Shabaab (affiliated with al-Qaeda) claimed responsibility for the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya – perhaps creating an opening for Islamist recruiters.  The largest number of Islamic jihadi fighters in the U.S. left to fight for al-Shabaab in Somalia shortly thereafter.

“We Have a Terrorist Recruiting Problem.”

The issue of terrorists in Minnesota has not gone unnoticed.  Andrew M. Luger, the U.S. attorney for Minneapolis, spoke about a case against al-Shabaab: “We have a terrorist recruiting problem.  We are willing to recognize it and we want to solve it.”  Luger described the problem as “decentralized” and “widespread.” He continued, “To be clear: This case demonstrates how difficult it is to put an end to recruiting here.  Parents and loved ones should know that there is not one master recruiter organizing in the Somali community locally.  What this case shows is that the person radicalizing your son, your brother, your friend, may not be a stranger.  It may be their best friend right here in town.”

Since that time, the father of Yusef Jama, a man who left Minnesota to join ISIS in June of 2014, testified.  It was an emotional moment for all parents in the courtroom.  “He talked about having lost his son to al-Shabaab and now another to ISIS.  At the end of his testimony, he took the exhibit in his hand – a picture of his son, Yusef Jama, who is dead – and he asked the judge if he could take it with him.  He needed a picture of his son.  Neither I, nor the people who worked on this case at the FBI or my office, ever want a parent to go through that again.”

One way to ensure that outcome is to educate the public.

“Terrorists Are Preying on the Youth in Minnesota.”

The Center for the American Experiment explains that Minnesota spends more money per low-income individual on public welfare than any other state in the U.S.  The State Department contracts with charities in Minnesota such as Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities, and World Relief Minnesota to assist Somali refugees with housing and English training.  Somalis choose Minnesota for the state assistance and the established Somali community.

While there are many Somalis who choose to open restaurants, drive taxis, become entrepreneurs, and assimilate into Minnesota society, simultaneously, many are exposed to radical Islamic extremism.  This phenomenon is cause for concern for residents of Minnesota.

State Leaders Must Stop the Jihadi Network

Since my departure from the Twin Cities, the Cedar Riverside neighborhood has been nicknamed “Little Mogadishu” because of the enormous growth of Somalis.  Downtown Minneapolis has become home to at least 29 Islamic centers and mosques.

Little Mogadishu in Minneapolis

If I still lived in Minnesota, I would ask state leaders for help in stemming the Islamic jihadi network there.  Governor Mark Dayton publicly told Minnesota citizens at the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muslim America Society (MAS) that “if they do not like the growing Muslim Somali population in Minnesota, they can leave [St. Cloud].”  Congressman Keith Ellison represents the 5th District and is the first Muslim congressman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.  Ellison is known for his support of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan.  Known by some in Washington, D.C. as a man who tries to silence criticism of jihad and radical Islamism, does Ellison represent his constituency?

Do Americans understand the effects of radical Islamism in their neighborhoods?  Many Somali teens are struggling.  The U.S. attorney’s office created outreach and mentorship programs, jobs, and community events.  Still, living in an unfamiliar place with barriers such as the language, climate, culture, goals, and belief system creates a climate of anxiety, frustration, loneliness, and anger – all prominent elements to radicalization.

Minnesota Somalis radicalize not only because they don’t have a job or an after-school program.  The biggest problem is recruiters who convince young adults that fighting the infidel (unbelievers) will bring them closer to Allah.

Teen Programs Are Not Enough: The Radical Ideology Must Be Addressed

Jihadi rappers sing, “Call on Allah and never retreat / Make our feet firm, Satan’s plan is weak / Islam is our faith, jihad is the peak / The best of our end’s to be a shahid.”  Addressing this type of propaganda is the most important part of solving the terrorism problem in Minnesota.  No matter how many outreach programs, after-school events, and job fairs, without understanding and curtailing the root of terrorism, the radical ideology, and sharia law (Islamic law), the problem will continue to grow.

Minnesota recruits are growing steadily as communities, perhaps unknowingly welcoming organizations such as Hamas, the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and Muslim Student Associations (MSA).  Up to 80% of national MSA chapters on college campuses are demonstrating radical beliefs, according to attorney David Yerushalmi.

Young adults under the jihadi influence are becoming more sophisticated at hiding their radical intentions from their families and local authorities.  Terrorists in the U.S. are hidden in plain sight.  Without a drastic change in policy, ideological jihadi battle zones will continue to grow on American soil.  The focus for government officials must shift to locating the terrorist cells forming inside our homeland and recognizing that Minnesota is not alone.

Valerie Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Radicalization in Your Neighborhood.  She can be reached on her blog at backyardcaliphate.weebly.com.

When I lived in Minneapolis, it was a welcoming town filled with hardworking, honest people with family values.  Braving extreme heat, politicians attended the State Fair, shook hands, kissed babies, and ate walleyed pike.  We used to stroll around Lake Minnetonka and talk about the local news, how many mosquitos were biting, and how the Minnesota Twins baseball team fared that year.  Minnesotans made me feel like family and welcomed me for a home-cooked meal.  But according to former FBI agent John Guandolo, life in the Twin Cities is not what it used to be.

Terror struck Minneapolis following a 911 call by Justine Damond, an Australian bride-to-be who was trying to be a good Samaritan by reporting a possible sexual assault.  Apparently, the policeman who responded, Somali-American Mohamed Noor, shot Damond to death when she appeared at the window of his car.  The facts have yet to be explained by Minneapolis police, who are investigating the July 15 tragedy.  But it is evident that some citizens fear backlash against the Minnesota Somali community.  It seems that the police officer was not a terrorist, and he is said to be a good citizen who made a serious, tragic mistake.  The problem in many communities is an enduring fear of terrorism that unleashes frantic emotions, whether warranted or not.

Tensions are high all around the U.S. as terrorist attacks continue to consume the news.  Now Minneapolis is home to the largest number of Somalis in the U.S., with over 125,000 immigrants.  Some native Minnesotans are worried about the violence in their community, and emotions run high in some neighborhoods.

Somalis in Minnesota mosques were stirred up when al-Shabaab (affiliated with al-Qaeda) claimed responsibility for the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya – perhaps creating an opening for Islamist recruiters.  The largest number of Islamic jihadi fighters in the U.S. left to fight for al-Shabaab in Somalia shortly thereafter.

“We Have a Terrorist Recruiting Problem.”

The issue of terrorists in Minnesota has not gone unnoticed.  Andrew M. Luger, the U.S. attorney for Minneapolis, spoke about a case against al-Shabaab: “We have a terrorist recruiting problem.  We are willing to recognize it and we want to solve it.”  Luger described the problem as “decentralized” and “widespread.” He continued, “To be clear: This case demonstrates how difficult it is to put an end to recruiting here.  Parents and loved ones should know that there is not one master recruiter organizing in the Somali community locally.  What this case shows is that the person radicalizing your son, your brother, your friend, may not be a stranger.  It may be their best friend right here in town.”

Since that time, the father of Yusef Jama, a man who left Minnesota to join ISIS in June of 2014, testified.  It was an emotional moment for all parents in the courtroom.  “He talked about having lost his son to al-Shabaab and now another to ISIS.  At the end of his testimony, he took the exhibit in his hand – a picture of his son, Yusef Jama, who is dead – and he asked the judge if he could take it with him.  He needed a picture of his son.  Neither I, nor the people who worked on this case at the FBI or my office, ever want a parent to go through that again.”

One way to ensure that outcome is to educate the public.

“Terrorists Are Preying on the Youth in Minnesota.”

The Center for the American Experiment explains that Minnesota spends more money per low-income individual on public welfare than any other state in the U.S.  The State Department contracts with charities in Minnesota such as Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Charities, and World Relief Minnesota to assist Somali refugees with housing and English training.  Somalis choose Minnesota for the state assistance and the established Somali community.

While there are many Somalis who choose to open restaurants, drive taxis, become entrepreneurs, and assimilate into Minnesota society, simultaneously, many are exposed to radical Islamic extremism.  This phenomenon is cause for concern for residents of Minnesota.

State Leaders Must Stop the Jihadi Network

Since my departure from the Twin Cities, the Cedar Riverside neighborhood has been nicknamed “Little Mogadishu” because of the enormous growth of Somalis.  Downtown Minneapolis has become home to at least 29 Islamic centers and mosques.

Little Mogadishu in Minneapolis

If I still lived in Minnesota, I would ask state leaders for help in stemming the Islamic jihadi network there.  Governor Mark Dayton publicly told Minnesota citizens at the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muslim America Society (MAS) that “if they do not like the growing Muslim Somali population in Minnesota, they can leave [St. Cloud].”  Congressman Keith Ellison represents the 5th District and is the first Muslim congressman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.  Ellison is known for his support of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan.  Known by some in Washington, D.C. as a man who tries to silence criticism of jihad and radical Islamism, does Ellison represent his constituency?

Do Americans understand the effects of radical Islamism in their neighborhoods?  Many Somali teens are struggling.  The U.S. attorney’s office created outreach and mentorship programs, jobs, and community events.  Still, living in an unfamiliar place with barriers such as the language, climate, culture, goals, and belief system creates a climate of anxiety, frustration, loneliness, and anger – all prominent elements to radicalization.

Minnesota Somalis radicalize not only because they don’t have a job or an after-school program.  The biggest problem is recruiters who convince young adults that fighting the infidel (unbelievers) will bring them closer to Allah.

Teen Programs Are Not Enough: The Radical Ideology Must Be Addressed

Jihadi rappers sing, “Call on Allah and never retreat / Make our feet firm, Satan’s plan is weak / Islam is our faith, jihad is the peak / The best of our end’s to be a shahid.”  Addressing this type of propaganda is the most important part of solving the terrorism problem in Minnesota.  No matter how many outreach programs, after-school events, and job fairs, without understanding and curtailing the root of terrorism, the radical ideology, and sharia law (Islamic law), the problem will continue to grow.

Minnesota recruits are growing steadily as communities, perhaps unknowingly welcoming organizations such as Hamas, the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and Muslim Student Associations (MSA).  Up to 80% of national MSA chapters on college campuses are demonstrating radical beliefs, according to attorney David Yerushalmi.

Young adults under the jihadi influence are becoming more sophisticated at hiding their radical intentions from their families and local authorities.  Terrorists in the U.S. are hidden in plain sight.  Without a drastic change in policy, ideological jihadi battle zones will continue to grow on American soil.  The focus for government officials must shift to locating the terrorist cells forming inside our homeland and recognizing that Minnesota is not alone.

Valerie Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Radicalization in Your Neighborhood.  She can be reached on her blog at backyardcaliphate.weebly.com.



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The Irony of Politics and Terrorism


Dreaming politically correct visions of world peace while denying the truth about terrorism only exacerbates the problem.  The irony is that the voters saw through the politically correct charade and spoke with their feet on election day, in the U.S. and the U.K.  It is clear: people have had enough terror.

The past few months brought the three heartbreaking attacks in London and Manchester and now yet another at a mosque in Finsbury Park.  It seems that the string of attacks will not be ending anytime soon.  While most believe that Brexit was the downfall of the conservatives, I contend that U.K. prime minister Theresa May, in large part, lost the parliamentary majority due to her inability to see the infiltration of radical Islamism in her country.  While the Brexit clock is ticking, so too is the terrorism clock.  The alarms went off loudly after the deadly terrorist attacks, but still today, it is uncertain if the politicians have awakened.  It may be too late in parts of Europe.

In the United States, President Donald Trump was elected in part because of his tough talk on curbing terrorism.  His leadership agenda created large divisions among American voters.  Trump’s promise to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, if kept, is a signal to the world that there is a new sheriff in town.

There is much to be done.  First, it is the height of irony that American schools are using textbooks written by Saudi Arabia and then complaining that the students are learning to hate America and the Constitution. Sharia law is Allah’s law, and the U.S. Constitution was written by men; therefore, according to Islamists, the Constitution is not valid.

Second, isn’t it ironic that Americans teach tolerance of all religions while the Islamists teach that killing anyone who does not follow the Qur’an and sharia law must be killed?

Third, how about the irony that terrorist organizations continue to exist in America with support, access to power, and taxpayer dollars, while at the same time, the political leaders are speaking to their constituencies about stamping out terror?  Laws must be passed declaring terrorist organizations as such, including the Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR, ISNA, and others.

Most people are not aware that jailed terrorists receive payment for their murders, and the funding comes from the U.S. taxpayers.  To discontinue this funding, the Taylor Force Act must be confirmed by Congress.  The U.S. should be ashamed of giving the Palestinians money to create more death.  The more the terrorists kill, the more money they make.

Forth, ironically, some members in the U.S. Congress are doing everything they can to stop President Trump from completing his pledge to keep America safe again, even though during their campaigns they also pledged security to their constituents.  Perhaps it is not about being safe, but about being powerful.  The Islamists concur, as they slowly take powerful positions inside the U.S. government, communities, mosques, and schools.

Extremist fundamentalists remind us that freedom and democracy are at risk. Terror, as an instrument for political change, strikes the very foundations of our democracies and Western values.  It is ironic that Islamic fundamentalists fight freedom while using it to serve their subversive Salafist ideology.  We are reminded that Western countries are in a battle to defend our civilization against barbarism.  American freedom of speech allows radical imams to preach hatred of America and Americans while freely trying to destroy it from within.  The very laws radical Islamists are criticizing allow them to have the freedom to criticize.

Fifth, it is the height of irony that radical imams claim that they respect women yet require them to be fully covered head to toe when leaving the house.  They are victims of female genital mutilation, can legally be beaten and killed by their husbands, and cannot hold a job without permission.  The power and control over Islamic women that sharia law allows are anything but respectful.

From Manchester to London, New York to Tel Aviv, to Paris and beyond, the web of terror is expanding worldwide.  There is irony in the fact that many countries are helping to spin the totalitarian web that will eventually consume them.  Britons are tired of the bloodshed; many are pleading for political correctness to end and safety and security to begin.

Still, governments continue to make the mistake of inviting the Islamist Trojan Horse inside their communities.  While politicians watch as the mammoth radical mosques are built in their states and children are brainwashed with anti-American propaganda, political correctness prevails.  Those who live in the home of the brave must be brave enough to protect their home.

Valerie Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Radicalization in our Neighborhood Visit her blog at backyardcaliphate.weebly.com.

Dreaming politically correct visions of world peace while denying the truth about terrorism only exacerbates the problem.  The irony is that the voters saw through the politically correct charade and spoke with their feet on election day, in the U.S. and the U.K.  It is clear: people have had enough terror.

The past few months brought the three heartbreaking attacks in London and Manchester and now yet another at a mosque in Finsbury Park.  It seems that the string of attacks will not be ending anytime soon.  While most believe that Brexit was the downfall of the conservatives, I contend that U.K. prime minister Theresa May, in large part, lost the parliamentary majority due to her inability to see the infiltration of radical Islamism in her country.  While the Brexit clock is ticking, so too is the terrorism clock.  The alarms went off loudly after the deadly terrorist attacks, but still today, it is uncertain if the politicians have awakened.  It may be too late in parts of Europe.

In the United States, President Donald Trump was elected in part because of his tough talk on curbing terrorism.  His leadership agenda created large divisions among American voters.  Trump’s promise to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, if kept, is a signal to the world that there is a new sheriff in town.

There is much to be done.  First, it is the height of irony that American schools are using textbooks written by Saudi Arabia and then complaining that the students are learning to hate America and the Constitution. Sharia law is Allah’s law, and the U.S. Constitution was written by men; therefore, according to Islamists, the Constitution is not valid.

Second, isn’t it ironic that Americans teach tolerance of all religions while the Islamists teach that killing anyone who does not follow the Qur’an and sharia law must be killed?

Third, how about the irony that terrorist organizations continue to exist in America with support, access to power, and taxpayer dollars, while at the same time, the political leaders are speaking to their constituencies about stamping out terror?  Laws must be passed declaring terrorist organizations as such, including the Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR, ISNA, and others.

Most people are not aware that jailed terrorists receive payment for their murders, and the funding comes from the U.S. taxpayers.  To discontinue this funding, the Taylor Force Act must be confirmed by Congress.  The U.S. should be ashamed of giving the Palestinians money to create more death.  The more the terrorists kill, the more money they make.

Forth, ironically, some members in the U.S. Congress are doing everything they can to stop President Trump from completing his pledge to keep America safe again, even though during their campaigns they also pledged security to their constituents.  Perhaps it is not about being safe, but about being powerful.  The Islamists concur, as they slowly take powerful positions inside the U.S. government, communities, mosques, and schools.

Extremist fundamentalists remind us that freedom and democracy are at risk. Terror, as an instrument for political change, strikes the very foundations of our democracies and Western values.  It is ironic that Islamic fundamentalists fight freedom while using it to serve their subversive Salafist ideology.  We are reminded that Western countries are in a battle to defend our civilization against barbarism.  American freedom of speech allows radical imams to preach hatred of America and Americans while freely trying to destroy it from within.  The very laws radical Islamists are criticizing allow them to have the freedom to criticize.

Fifth, it is the height of irony that radical imams claim that they respect women yet require them to be fully covered head to toe when leaving the house.  They are victims of female genital mutilation, can legally be beaten and killed by their husbands, and cannot hold a job without permission.  The power and control over Islamic women that sharia law allows are anything but respectful.

From Manchester to London, New York to Tel Aviv, to Paris and beyond, the web of terror is expanding worldwide.  There is irony in the fact that many countries are helping to spin the totalitarian web that will eventually consume them.  Britons are tired of the bloodshed; many are pleading for political correctness to end and safety and security to begin.

Still, governments continue to make the mistake of inviting the Islamist Trojan Horse inside their communities.  While politicians watch as the mammoth radical mosques are built in their states and children are brainwashed with anti-American propaganda, political correctness prevails.  Those who live in the home of the brave must be brave enough to protect their home.

Valerie Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Radicalization in our Neighborhood Visit her blog at backyardcaliphate.weebly.com.



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Terrorists Don't Act Alone


Wolves are not born in a vacuum, they are born in packs. In fact, the term ‘lone wolf,’ is a misnomer–self-radicalization does not exist. Radical Islamists recruit in social environments such as radical mosques, social media chat rooms and radical schools and neighborhoods, just to name a few. Sophisticated groupthink and manipulation techniques are used to brainwash recruits into believing that killing infidels, or non-believers, is honorable.

Promises such as 72 virgins, forgiveness for family members, along with payment for martyrs, provide incentives for terrorism. But the most effective inducement is the radical Islamist ideology that most terrorists espouse. Packs of new recruits are trained together by using social processes that create a competitive environment. Ego plays a part in trying to one-up one another, thereby escalating the violence and hatred towards the infidel, the unbeliever. Social psychologist Albert Bandura reported that violence is “socially determined.” Radicalization occurs in this type of environment, not in secluded basements of a parents’ home.

Immediately following a terrorist attack, one of the first queries is whether a terrorist acted alone. According to Fox News, it is estimated that there are 23,000 jihadists, and 20,000 people who are a residual risk in the U.K. today. The current Manchester murder investigation is uncovering the fact that recruits are embedded in a jihadi network, plotting terror attacks, even though it may seem as though they are acting alone. As the Manchester investigation proceeds, it has been reported that after seventeen raids, eleven suspects have been arrested. Perhaps some of those raids have uncovered underground social groups in addition to links to Libya and other networks.

The web of Islamist terrorism is connected worldwide, radicalizing foot soldiers much faster than law enforcement can keep up. In this case, the terrorist Salman Abedi, was on New Scotland Yard’s radar screen before his attack at the Ariana Grande concert, but could not be arrested without probable cause. Until Abedi targeted and killed the young teens as they exited the Manchester arena, (seats up to 21,000 fans), no crime had been committed. To arrest a known wolf, clear evidence of an attack must be found–and clearly, jihadis are taking advantage of this freedom. Author Patrick Poole coined the phrase, ‘known wolves,’ to describe these jihadis.

The tangled web of jihad is not always visible underneath the mask of “known wolves.” Dozens of websites teach prospective jihadis how to build sophisticated explosive devices. Al-Qaeda created Inspire, an online magazine which describes in gruesome detail how to build suicide bombs.  The Anarchist Cookbook, is another site with chat rooms where prospective jihadis can share information in a social setting and learn how to build an IED, (Improvised Explosive Device,) using household items such as pressure cookers.

Violence is the primary vehicle for communication in radical Islamism. The more death, the stronger the message. The jihadists’ ultimate goal is to enforce Sharia law worldwide. The brutal attack in Manchester tacitly spoke of the Islamist disdain for loud music, unescorted young girls, and forbidden dress, displaying non-compliance with Sharia law.

Islamist terrorists are fond of symbolism and this heartbreaking and brutal attack occurred on May 22, two months to the day after British terrorist Khalid Masood attacked the reins of power in the United Kingdom.  Dozens of young teens’ lives were cut short and over 63 innocent youths wounded in the jihadi-martyrdom bombing claimed by ISIS. We should prepare for more attacks along the horizon, especially on national holidays.

Islamic radicalization is an extreme political doctrine submitting to the tenets of jihad through the socialization from an archaic interpretation of Sharia law. When innocent bystanders and children are savagely attacked, as they were in Manchester, we are reminded that we are in a battle to defend our civilization against barbarism. The justification for these attacks stems from the extreme jihadi ideology that uses references from the Qu’ran, as a political tool. Extremist fundamentalists reminded us once again, that Salafi-jihadism is not compatible with freedom and democracy. Terror, as an instrument for political change, attacks the very foundations of our democracies and Western values. We are all victims of a subversive radical Salafist ideology, from Manchester to London, to New York to Tel Aviv to Paris and beyond.

We must stand together to eradicate our common enemy that rejects freedom in favor of a militant totalitarian belief system. Radical Islamists are masters of manipulation by using a recruiter, a plan, and a radical ideology to indoctrinate their followers. This must be stopped. There must be a way to stop known wolves, before they act.

What Can Be Done?

With all due respect to Prime Minister Theresa May, vigilance and more security services will not be enough to keep Britons safe. Terrorists must be acknowledged, delegitimized, and demonized.

President Donald Trump on his recent Middle East tour stated, “drive them out.” Every country, including the Arab and Muslim countries, must be a part of the solution, especially because the victims of Islamism are often Muslims themselves. President Trump called for NATO countries to attack the terrorist hubs and “drive them out of this world.”

If the Islamist soldiers come to realize that they are pawns in a violent game, dying as collateral damage for radical Sharia, would they continue to steal young lives, including their own? What if the media demonized, discredited and disregarded terrorist acts? Or if anti-Islamist Muslims discouraged violent extremism as a farce with fools-gold rewards after death? 

The U.S. must learn from Europe’s mistakes and create stronger border control, tighten immigration laws, stand strong against radical Islamic lobbies, and protect our Constitutional freedoms. That is only the beginning. The number one job of the British Prime Minister and the President of the United States is to keep our countries safe and secure. Citizens must demand answers about what our leaders are doing to make it so.

Valerie Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Radicalization in our Neighborhood.  Visit her blog at backyardcaliphate.weebly.com.

Wolves are not born in a vacuum, they are born in packs. In fact, the term ‘lone wolf,’ is a misnomer–self-radicalization does not exist. Radical Islamists recruit in social environments such as radical mosques, social media chat rooms and radical schools and neighborhoods, just to name a few. Sophisticated groupthink and manipulation techniques are used to brainwash recruits into believing that killing infidels, or non-believers, is honorable.

Promises such as 72 virgins, forgiveness for family members, along with payment for martyrs, provide incentives for terrorism. But the most effective inducement is the radical Islamist ideology that most terrorists espouse. Packs of new recruits are trained together by using social processes that create a competitive environment. Ego plays a part in trying to one-up one another, thereby escalating the violence and hatred towards the infidel, the unbeliever. Social psychologist Albert Bandura reported that violence is “socially determined.” Radicalization occurs in this type of environment, not in secluded basements of a parents’ home.

Immediately following a terrorist attack, one of the first queries is whether a terrorist acted alone. According to Fox News, it is estimated that there are 23,000 jihadists, and 20,000 people who are a residual risk in the U.K. today. The current Manchester murder investigation is uncovering the fact that recruits are embedded in a jihadi network, plotting terror attacks, even though it may seem as though they are acting alone. As the Manchester investigation proceeds, it has been reported that after seventeen raids, eleven suspects have been arrested. Perhaps some of those raids have uncovered underground social groups in addition to links to Libya and other networks.

The web of Islamist terrorism is connected worldwide, radicalizing foot soldiers much faster than law enforcement can keep up. In this case, the terrorist Salman Abedi, was on New Scotland Yard’s radar screen before his attack at the Ariana Grande concert, but could not be arrested without probable cause. Until Abedi targeted and killed the young teens as they exited the Manchester arena, (seats up to 21,000 fans), no crime had been committed. To arrest a known wolf, clear evidence of an attack must be found–and clearly, jihadis are taking advantage of this freedom. Author Patrick Poole coined the phrase, ‘known wolves,’ to describe these jihadis.

The tangled web of jihad is not always visible underneath the mask of “known wolves.” Dozens of websites teach prospective jihadis how to build sophisticated explosive devices. Al-Qaeda created Inspire, an online magazine which describes in gruesome detail how to build suicide bombs.  The Anarchist Cookbook, is another site with chat rooms where prospective jihadis can share information in a social setting and learn how to build an IED, (Improvised Explosive Device,) using household items such as pressure cookers.

Violence is the primary vehicle for communication in radical Islamism. The more death, the stronger the message. The jihadists’ ultimate goal is to enforce Sharia law worldwide. The brutal attack in Manchester tacitly spoke of the Islamist disdain for loud music, unescorted young girls, and forbidden dress, displaying non-compliance with Sharia law.

Islamist terrorists are fond of symbolism and this heartbreaking and brutal attack occurred on May 22, two months to the day after British terrorist Khalid Masood attacked the reins of power in the United Kingdom.  Dozens of young teens’ lives were cut short and over 63 innocent youths wounded in the jihadi-martyrdom bombing claimed by ISIS. We should prepare for more attacks along the horizon, especially on national holidays.

Islamic radicalization is an extreme political doctrine submitting to the tenets of jihad through the socialization from an archaic interpretation of Sharia law. When innocent bystanders and children are savagely attacked, as they were in Manchester, we are reminded that we are in a battle to defend our civilization against barbarism. The justification for these attacks stems from the extreme jihadi ideology that uses references from the Qu’ran, as a political tool. Extremist fundamentalists reminded us once again, that Salafi-jihadism is not compatible with freedom and democracy. Terror, as an instrument for political change, attacks the very foundations of our democracies and Western values. We are all victims of a subversive radical Salafist ideology, from Manchester to London, to New York to Tel Aviv to Paris and beyond.

We must stand together to eradicate our common enemy that rejects freedom in favor of a militant totalitarian belief system. Radical Islamists are masters of manipulation by using a recruiter, a plan, and a radical ideology to indoctrinate their followers. This must be stopped. There must be a way to stop known wolves, before they act.

What Can Be Done?

With all due respect to Prime Minister Theresa May, vigilance and more security services will not be enough to keep Britons safe. Terrorists must be acknowledged, delegitimized, and demonized.

President Donald Trump on his recent Middle East tour stated, “drive them out.” Every country, including the Arab and Muslim countries, must be a part of the solution, especially because the victims of Islamism are often Muslims themselves. President Trump called for NATO countries to attack the terrorist hubs and “drive them out of this world.”

If the Islamist soldiers come to realize that they are pawns in a violent game, dying as collateral damage for radical Sharia, would they continue to steal young lives, including their own? What if the media demonized, discredited and disregarded terrorist acts? Or if anti-Islamist Muslims discouraged violent extremism as a farce with fools-gold rewards after death? 

The U.S. must learn from Europe’s mistakes and create stronger border control, tighten immigration laws, stand strong against radical Islamic lobbies, and protect our Constitutional freedoms. That is only the beginning. The number one job of the British Prime Minister and the President of the United States is to keep our countries safe and secure. Citizens must demand answers about what our leaders are doing to make it so.

Valerie Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Radicalization in our Neighborhood.  Visit her blog at backyardcaliphate.weebly.com.



Source link

Help Wanted: Women as Recruiters for ISIS


The landscape of war has dramatically changed, casting conventional weapons as secondary to the power of propaganda.  The first social media war in history is now being fought by online soldiers.  From the comfort of their own homes, secretly playing keyboard jihadis, anonymous recruiters prey on the fantasies of the would-be recruit to serve on the virtual front line.

The most treacherous and damaging material support for ISIS is the online ability to manipulate and radicalize recruits worldwide.  Now ISIS posts “help wanted” announcements for online recruiters who have skills that kill – and business is booming.

The Tremendous Value of Women as Recruiters

Surprisingly, employment with ISIS as a recruiter is financially rewarding.  “That just shows how important it is to them and how much they treasure and value the recruitment capabilities of web pages and social media.”  Dark web warriors are serving as front-line fighters with limitless access to millions of potential recruits on a 24-hour ISIS hotline, where social media addicts can call with questions about Islamism.  Not only hotlines, but Twitter and Tumblr accounts, radical and encrypted sites, and other outlets for wannabe jihadists keep recruiters connected worldwide.

Salafi-jihadi recruiting in chat rooms and encrypted sites is extremely effective, and women are leading the way.  A woman’s traditional role within terrorist organizations has always been homemaker and baby factory, but it is evolving to include a supportive role for ISIS as online persuasive recruiters.

The Online Recruiting Revolution

A driving force in recruiting for the jihadi internet revolution is the online magazine Dabiq (replaced by Rumiyah), which transformed battlefield warfare by establishing the online recruiting industry.  Known as the terrorist who brought the influence of “media jihad” to ISIS was chief editor Ahmad Abousmara, an expert in computer engineering and emotional exploitation.  He amassed so much media power that he became a danger to himself and was killed.  “He departed, having known that media is for calling people to Allah, guiding them to His cause, and inciting them to kill His enemies.”  There are many jihadis who have followed his lead by manipulating innocent youths online to gain power, prestige, and paychecks.

Birmingham, England resident Junaid Hussain was one such recruiter who took the power of this medium to the next level by weaving his way inside influential internet networks.  He was killed by an American drone – not because he lobbed off heads, blew up buildings, or rammed cars into pedestrians, but because he wielded too much control on social media sites.  Known as a member of the Cyber Caliphates, Hussain was a black hat hacker whose purpose was to bypass internet security and disseminate radical propaganda.  His success landed him in prison in 2012, for hacking into former prime minister Tony Blair’s accounts and posting private information.

After just a few clicks, sophisticated crowdsourcing techniques enable aspiring jihadists to become employed as recruiters for terrorists.  The time from “flash to bang,” or “thought to action,” is tightening.  Ten years ago, it took one year to radicalize a jihadi newbie.  Now it takes only a single month or less.

How have radical recruiters become so effective?

Curious visitors join jihadi chat rooms and become swept up in the effects of groupthink, a mental resetting phenomenon that occurs when a group seeks conformity – often resulting in irrational decisions.  Surfing the web creates anonymity and a false sense of security; it is the Millennials’ version of being approached at a bar.

Recruiters are predators, driving the hidden influencers inside the group.  Through electronic memes and jihadi slang, visitors are duped into playing a role in identifying with Islamism.  Master recruiters convince the newbies that they are not being manipulated, but are acting on their own free will.  Often prospective recruits experience a roller coaster of sentiments and cravings, much like the effects of drugs, as they fall down the rabbit hole into radicalization.  Finally, the vulnerable recruit may become dependent on his online “friend” because he has isolated himself in the real world while feeding his internet addiction.

American College Student Turned Jihadi Recruiter

A 20-year-old girl from Hoover, Alabama, Hoda Muthana, also known as “Umm Jihad” on Twitter, connected with extremists online and left the U.S. to join them in Syria.  She explained, “I felt like my life was so bland without it.  Life has much more meaning when u know why ur here.”  Hoda stated that her parents approved of her changes “until they saw me getting jihadi.”

A former friend in the University of Alabama, Birmingham’s Muslim Student Association described Hoda with two different personalities. “I really think that her Twitter was her alter ego.  What she lacked in her personality, she would make up for on Twitter.”  She stated, “she didn’t want to associate with anyone who didn’t share her interpretation of Islam, an interpretation that she said demanded every Muslim to move to ISIS-controlled territory.”  As of this writing, Hoda remains in Syria, employed by ISIS as an online recruiter, brainwashing American women about her “glamorous” life as a jihadi bride, mother, and widow.  It is unlikely that she will return to the U.S. without significant jail time for providing material support to a terrorist organization.

Women in the Theater

As much as it is counter to Islamic teachings, some predict that as ISIS loses ground and recruits, Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may impose combat roles on women.  From a public relations perspective, the death of a woman on the front line will create a huge amount of attention and response, which will increase ISIS’s “media platform.”  This unprecedented move would not be unlike the brutality that created hundreds of thousands of viewers and massive recruits through YouTube videos of Jihadi John’s brutal beheadings. “Women believed to have been planning a series of suicide attacks, connected with ISIS elements via the internet and were brainwashed into committing destructive acts[.] … This is the first time we have found a terrorist cell that was entirely composed of women,” stated Abdelhak Kiame, who leads Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations.

The evolution of terrorist soldiers is progressing from a traditional Salafi-jihadi role, where women must be covered from head-to-toe and are not allowed to leave home without a male relative, to female online recruiters, female front-line soldiers, and even female suicide bombers, who are willing to die in battle for a fanatical Islamic State.

Valerie Leiser Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Radicalization in our Neighborhoods, which will be available in June 2017 on Amazon.com.

The landscape of war has dramatically changed, casting conventional weapons as secondary to the power of propaganda.  The first social media war in history is now being fought by online soldiers.  From the comfort of their own homes, secretly playing keyboard jihadis, anonymous recruiters prey on the fantasies of the would-be recruit to serve on the virtual front line.

The most treacherous and damaging material support for ISIS is the online ability to manipulate and radicalize recruits worldwide.  Now ISIS posts “help wanted” announcements for online recruiters who have skills that kill – and business is booming.

The Tremendous Value of Women as Recruiters

Surprisingly, employment with ISIS as a recruiter is financially rewarding.  “That just shows how important it is to them and how much they treasure and value the recruitment capabilities of web pages and social media.”  Dark web warriors are serving as front-line fighters with limitless access to millions of potential recruits on a 24-hour ISIS hotline, where social media addicts can call with questions about Islamism.  Not only hotlines, but Twitter and Tumblr accounts, radical and encrypted sites, and other outlets for wannabe jihadists keep recruiters connected worldwide.

Salafi-jihadi recruiting in chat rooms and encrypted sites is extremely effective, and women are leading the way.  A woman’s traditional role within terrorist organizations has always been homemaker and baby factory, but it is evolving to include a supportive role for ISIS as online persuasive recruiters.

The Online Recruiting Revolution

A driving force in recruiting for the jihadi internet revolution is the online magazine Dabiq (replaced by Rumiyah), which transformed battlefield warfare by establishing the online recruiting industry.  Known as the terrorist who brought the influence of “media jihad” to ISIS was chief editor Ahmad Abousmara, an expert in computer engineering and emotional exploitation.  He amassed so much media power that he became a danger to himself and was killed.  “He departed, having known that media is for calling people to Allah, guiding them to His cause, and inciting them to kill His enemies.”  There are many jihadis who have followed his lead by manipulating innocent youths online to gain power, prestige, and paychecks.

Birmingham, England resident Junaid Hussain was one such recruiter who took the power of this medium to the next level by weaving his way inside influential internet networks.  He was killed by an American drone – not because he lobbed off heads, blew up buildings, or rammed cars into pedestrians, but because he wielded too much control on social media sites.  Known as a member of the Cyber Caliphates, Hussain was a black hat hacker whose purpose was to bypass internet security and disseminate radical propaganda.  His success landed him in prison in 2012, for hacking into former prime minister Tony Blair’s accounts and posting private information.

After just a few clicks, sophisticated crowdsourcing techniques enable aspiring jihadists to become employed as recruiters for terrorists.  The time from “flash to bang,” or “thought to action,” is tightening.  Ten years ago, it took one year to radicalize a jihadi newbie.  Now it takes only a single month or less.

How have radical recruiters become so effective?

Curious visitors join jihadi chat rooms and become swept up in the effects of groupthink, a mental resetting phenomenon that occurs when a group seeks conformity – often resulting in irrational decisions.  Surfing the web creates anonymity and a false sense of security; it is the Millennials’ version of being approached at a bar.

Recruiters are predators, driving the hidden influencers inside the group.  Through electronic memes and jihadi slang, visitors are duped into playing a role in identifying with Islamism.  Master recruiters convince the newbies that they are not being manipulated, but are acting on their own free will.  Often prospective recruits experience a roller coaster of sentiments and cravings, much like the effects of drugs, as they fall down the rabbit hole into radicalization.  Finally, the vulnerable recruit may become dependent on his online “friend” because he has isolated himself in the real world while feeding his internet addiction.

American College Student Turned Jihadi Recruiter

A 20-year-old girl from Hoover, Alabama, Hoda Muthana, also known as “Umm Jihad” on Twitter, connected with extremists online and left the U.S. to join them in Syria.  She explained, “I felt like my life was so bland without it.  Life has much more meaning when u know why ur here.”  Hoda stated that her parents approved of her changes “until they saw me getting jihadi.”

A former friend in the University of Alabama, Birmingham’s Muslim Student Association described Hoda with two different personalities. “I really think that her Twitter was her alter ego.  What she lacked in her personality, she would make up for on Twitter.”  She stated, “she didn’t want to associate with anyone who didn’t share her interpretation of Islam, an interpretation that she said demanded every Muslim to move to ISIS-controlled territory.”  As of this writing, Hoda remains in Syria, employed by ISIS as an online recruiter, brainwashing American women about her “glamorous” life as a jihadi bride, mother, and widow.  It is unlikely that she will return to the U.S. without significant jail time for providing material support to a terrorist organization.

Women in the Theater

As much as it is counter to Islamic teachings, some predict that as ISIS loses ground and recruits, Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may impose combat roles on women.  From a public relations perspective, the death of a woman on the front line will create a huge amount of attention and response, which will increase ISIS’s “media platform.”  This unprecedented move would not be unlike the brutality that created hundreds of thousands of viewers and massive recruits through YouTube videos of Jihadi John’s brutal beheadings. “Women believed to have been planning a series of suicide attacks, connected with ISIS elements via the internet and were brainwashed into committing destructive acts[.] … This is the first time we have found a terrorist cell that was entirely composed of women,” stated Abdelhak Kiame, who leads Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations.

The evolution of terrorist soldiers is progressing from a traditional Salafi-jihadi role, where women must be covered from head-to-toe and are not allowed to leave home without a male relative, to female online recruiters, female front-line soldiers, and even female suicide bombers, who are willing to die in battle for a fanatical Islamic State.

Valerie Leiser Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Radicalization in our Neighborhoods, which will be available in June 2017 on Amazon.com.



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Word to American Rabbis: We Must Secure Our Borders


I am not a rabbi, but I know that throughout Jewish history, many holidays begin with “They tried to kill us, but we survived.  Let’s eat.”  As history continues to repeat itself, “they” still want to kill us, and by allowing undocumented immigrants from any country into the U.S., we are inviting danger for dinner.

Recently, almost 2,000 American rabbis wrote a letter to President Trump and congressional officials to “ensure that our refugee program be maintained and strengthened, not halted, paused or restricted.”  Although Jews are known for tikkun olam, repairing the world, this request does not use our Jewish noodle – only our bleeding heart.  If President Trump and Congress admit unidentified immigrants, they will be derelict in their most important duty: to keep America safe.

The April edition of Fortune Magazine published a poll concluding that 83 percent of Americans do not want to loosen immigration laws.  The rabbis’ letter states that we cannot “ignore those seeking deliverance.”  There are many ways to assist refugees that will not endanger our population: food donations, clothing, and funding safe zones and security outside Syria, just to name a few.  The most logical solution to help the Syrian refugees is to assist their safe immigration to a place where they will be familiar with the language, culture, and laws in nearby Muslim countries.  Of the two dozen Muslim countries, none has stepped up to the plate to assist their people.  It is the European countries who open their borders for the floods of refugees – into Germany, Britain, France and others, causing a dramatic rise in crime and cultural and social problems.

Countries such as Poland and Hungary are criticized for monitoring their borders.  But ten years from now, there will be a dramatic difference between countries who make the decision to secure their population and those liberal countries waving a “come one, come all” sign.

Now I sit on a train in Munich, wondering what locals think about this issue.  It is controversial.  Much like the rabbis, one person on the train stated that European countries must assist the refugees even if they bring their own values and don’t follow the laws of Germany.  I learned from a Turkish man that it is not about the refugees, but he worries that the country is politically leaning to the right.  Another stated that he doesn’t want refugees because they have more rights in Germany than the average citizen.  A Polish resident stated that refugees cannot cross the border into Poland, and many are leaving to obtain jobs in Germany.

The rabbis’ letter states, “We must be engaged, passionate and energized about what matters to us.”  I wholeheartedly agree: what matters to me above all else is the safety of my children.  While Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to assist almost a million refugees into Germany, at least three Islamist terrorist attacks were traced directly to these asylum-seekers.  Similarly, peaceful Sweden has become a terrorist haven for over 100,000 radical jihadi-Islamists who attack locals and do not assimilate.

The American public must learn from the mistakes of our European allies across the pond and not repeat them.  If we do not have proper documentation, the risk of the unknown is insufficient to give a green light for entry.  It is gravely problematic to allow Salafi jihadists to enter Western countries, since their American dream includes enforcing sharia law in place of the U.S. Constitution.  The home of the brave belongs to those brave enough to protect their home.

Attempting to create moral equivalency between extremist Islamist refugees who perpetrate terror and Jewish refugees fleeing for their lives during the Holocaust is repugnant.  While there may be some refugees who do not adhere to the radical jihadi viewpoint, until we are sure that Americans’ safety is not compromised, we are not at liberty to make that judgment.  While some Americans are willing to risk their lives for unknown refugees, I prefer to protect my children.  Call me a bigot, a racist, or an Islamophobe for choosing my children’s safety over the unknown stranger – and tell that to American parents who have lost children to terrorism.

Making another grave immigration mistake today will not vindicate the immigration mistakes of the past.  Were Jews who sought to escape religious persecution by seeking asylum in the U.S. during WWII ever deemed a possible danger or physical threat to Americans?  Never.  Did Jews threaten to blow up, ram with cars, behead, or stab Americans?  Never.  Or was there ever a question that Jewish refugees fleeing persecution might not assimilate or accept the U.S. Constitution?  Never.

“Never again” means opening our eyes and protecting ourselves from harm.  Radical Islam is here.  Where is the outcry from American Jews to “deliver” the French Jews currently fleeing religious persecution?  Let us not forget the English, Danish, and German Jews who are suffering attacks.  Recently, the Coptic Christians were persecuted in Egypt.  Where is the outcry?

Supporting a policy of open borders is a dangerous and a grave mistake.  Shame on us if we allow those who want to destroy us and our way of life the proximity to do so.

God bailed out the Jews in Egypt, and by the grace of God, we survived Hitler’s attempt at complete extermination.  Will we stand up against radical Islamism, or will we depend on God to save us once again?

Valerie Leiser Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Radicalization in Our Neighborhood.

I am not a rabbi, but I know that throughout Jewish history, many holidays begin with “They tried to kill us, but we survived.  Let’s eat.”  As history continues to repeat itself, “they” still want to kill us, and by allowing undocumented immigrants from any country into the U.S., we are inviting danger for dinner.

Recently, almost 2,000 American rabbis wrote a letter to President Trump and congressional officials to “ensure that our refugee program be maintained and strengthened, not halted, paused or restricted.”  Although Jews are known for tikkun olam, repairing the world, this request does not use our Jewish noodle – only our bleeding heart.  If President Trump and Congress admit unidentified immigrants, they will be derelict in their most important duty: to keep America safe.

The April edition of Fortune Magazine published a poll concluding that 83 percent of Americans do not want to loosen immigration laws.  The rabbis’ letter states that we cannot “ignore those seeking deliverance.”  There are many ways to assist refugees that will not endanger our population: food donations, clothing, and funding safe zones and security outside Syria, just to name a few.  The most logical solution to help the Syrian refugees is to assist their safe immigration to a place where they will be familiar with the language, culture, and laws in nearby Muslim countries.  Of the two dozen Muslim countries, none has stepped up to the plate to assist their people.  It is the European countries who open their borders for the floods of refugees – into Germany, Britain, France and others, causing a dramatic rise in crime and cultural and social problems.

Countries such as Poland and Hungary are criticized for monitoring their borders.  But ten years from now, there will be a dramatic difference between countries who make the decision to secure their population and those liberal countries waving a “come one, come all” sign.

Now I sit on a train in Munich, wondering what locals think about this issue.  It is controversial.  Much like the rabbis, one person on the train stated that European countries must assist the refugees even if they bring their own values and don’t follow the laws of Germany.  I learned from a Turkish man that it is not about the refugees, but he worries that the country is politically leaning to the right.  Another stated that he doesn’t want refugees because they have more rights in Germany than the average citizen.  A Polish resident stated that refugees cannot cross the border into Poland, and many are leaving to obtain jobs in Germany.

The rabbis’ letter states, “We must be engaged, passionate and energized about what matters to us.”  I wholeheartedly agree: what matters to me above all else is the safety of my children.  While Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to assist almost a million refugees into Germany, at least three Islamist terrorist attacks were traced directly to these asylum-seekers.  Similarly, peaceful Sweden has become a terrorist haven for over 100,000 radical jihadi-Islamists who attack locals and do not assimilate.

The American public must learn from the mistakes of our European allies across the pond and not repeat them.  If we do not have proper documentation, the risk of the unknown is insufficient to give a green light for entry.  It is gravely problematic to allow Salafi jihadists to enter Western countries, since their American dream includes enforcing sharia law in place of the U.S. Constitution.  The home of the brave belongs to those brave enough to protect their home.

Attempting to create moral equivalency between extremist Islamist refugees who perpetrate terror and Jewish refugees fleeing for their lives during the Holocaust is repugnant.  While there may be some refugees who do not adhere to the radical jihadi viewpoint, until we are sure that Americans’ safety is not compromised, we are not at liberty to make that judgment.  While some Americans are willing to risk their lives for unknown refugees, I prefer to protect my children.  Call me a bigot, a racist, or an Islamophobe for choosing my children’s safety over the unknown stranger – and tell that to American parents who have lost children to terrorism.

Making another grave immigration mistake today will not vindicate the immigration mistakes of the past.  Were Jews who sought to escape religious persecution by seeking asylum in the U.S. during WWII ever deemed a possible danger or physical threat to Americans?  Never.  Did Jews threaten to blow up, ram with cars, behead, or stab Americans?  Never.  Or was there ever a question that Jewish refugees fleeing persecution might not assimilate or accept the U.S. Constitution?  Never.

“Never again” means opening our eyes and protecting ourselves from harm.  Radical Islam is here.  Where is the outcry from American Jews to “deliver” the French Jews currently fleeing religious persecution?  Let us not forget the English, Danish, and German Jews who are suffering attacks.  Recently, the Coptic Christians were persecuted in Egypt.  Where is the outcry?

Supporting a policy of open borders is a dangerous and a grave mistake.  Shame on us if we allow those who want to destroy us and our way of life the proximity to do so.

God bailed out the Jews in Egypt, and by the grace of God, we survived Hitler’s attempt at complete extermination.  Will we stand up against radical Islamism, or will we depend on God to save us once again?

Valerie Leiser Greenfeld is the author of Backyard Caliphate: Radicalization in Our Neighborhood.



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Jihad Fantasy: Could This Be My Child?


“Between the soccer practices and the hours at her accounting job and the potlucks with the neighbors, Christianne Boudreau spent every spare minute watching Islamic State videos, her nose pressed up against the computer screen[.] … Through the screens and behind the balaclavas, she was looking for her son’s eyes.”

If only Christianne had been aware of the signs, processes, and ideology of Islamic indoctrination before her son, Damien, disappeared.  If only more parents were knowledgeable about predatory recruiters who seek to promote extremist jihadi values to curious and naïve teens.  Then perhaps the parents of three girls ages 15, 16, and 17 from an upper-class neighborhood in Denver would have recognized the signs before the girls stole away from high school to join ISIS.  Newlyweds from Mississippi who thought it would be cool to celebrate their honeymoon by serving ISIS would not be serving time instead.  An American mother of three, in Chicago, who woke one morning to find a letter, instead of her children, might have stopped them before they left to join ISIS.

Salafi-jihadism is described by convicted terrorist Anjem Choudary: “Next time when your child is at school and the teacher says, what do you want to be when you grow up?  What is your ambition?  They should say, to dominate the whole world by Islam.”  Like gangs and cults, radical Islamism justifies acts of violence by using subversive messaging and brainwashing techniques.  Studies show that radicalization could happen to anyone, not just the mentally ill, petty criminals or society drop-outs, but average Americans. How can American parents tell if their child is under the influence of a cunning jihadi recruiter?

The signs of jihadi indoctrination include suddenly quitting smoking, drinking, consuming pork; spending a lot of time in chat rooms; a sudden interest in learning about Islam or Arabic; a change in friendships; spending a large amount of time at a mosque or Islamic cultural center; judging others’ behavior as not sanctioned by Allah; a change from Western clothing styles; and no longer listening to music or watching television.  Parents should heed these red flags and speak frankly to their children about all types of influences and outside dangers.

As indoctrination progresses, it penetrates the psyche so deeply that once it has taken root, it is difficult to break away.  Alex, a Sunday school teacher, met her “friend” Feisal, her radical handler, online.  Alex showed signs of indoctrination, but by the time her grandmother discovered Feisal, it was too late: Alex was lost to radical Islamism.  Even then, in the back of her mind, she wondered, how can these nice people be the same ones chopping off people’s heads?

No One-Size-Fits-All Radicalization Process

Parental intuition is the best way to spot indoctrination.  Every teen is different – there are introverts and extroverts, strict rule followers, and those who think rules are a casual suggestion.  There are philosophers and eye-rollers, ambitious overachievers and fun-loving couch potatoes.  Children are born with a basic nature, a personal footprint.  As they mature, internal triggers are developed, and the trained recruiter manipulates those triggers creating an “us” versus “them” dichotomy.  By pitting teens against their family and their country, the recruiter gains control.  Further, demanding secrecy from the neophyte, recruiters create mystique and excitement while ensuring even more control.  Like Alex, soon the recruit is lonely, isolated, and dependent on the handler.

At this point, recruits may experience emotional upheavals as their lives take drastic changes creating fertile ground for indoctrination.  Americans who radicalize hail from extremely diverse backgrounds and are motivated by vastly different factors.  But what they do have in common is that everyone has a fantasy – especially during the invincible teenage years.  Recruiters design and frame a personal profile to fit every jihadi fantasy by detecting individual vulnerabilities.

Through manipulation, isolation, brainwashing, the drive for purpose, and the security of routines, teens find comfort with their jihadi handlers.  How does a recruiter access and draw-in prospective recruits?  A personal crisis drawn out by a jihadi fantasy may provide fertile soil for “internal” radicalization.  An “internal” and an “external” element must be present for the radicalization process to occur.

Internal Elements

From the jock with excessive testosterone looking for violence to feed displaced anger to the “save the world” idealist who seeks to help suffering refugees from Syria, everyone has dreams. Perhaps one of the following fantasies describes someone you know.

From the Adventure-Seeker Fantasy thriving on adrenaline by his perceived invincibility who seeks ISIS as a cool summer camp to the Jihadi Bride-Homemaker Fantasy who dreams of giving birth to ISIS babies while hiding behind hijabs, these fantasies capture an emptiness waiting to be filled.  Caught between the desire for a conventional lifestyle but wanting to live it in an unconventional way; many of the recruits are escaping unfulfilled dreams.  The jihadi recruiter manipulates the recruits’ internal vulnerability by creating an environment that fulfills their emptiness that ironically feels safe.

The Jihadi Grievance Maker Fantasy despises American values, capitalism, and freedom.  They disrupt lectures on campus violently protesting at those exercising their First Amendment rights with whom they disagree.

The Jihadi Martyr-Redeemer Fantasy dreams of giving their life as a “shahid,” or martyr, believing his that death will be a family celebration.  Martyrs’ families receive monthly salaries for their sacrifice.  In 2016, suicide bombings reached an all-time high and ISIS claimed responsibility for 70% of the attacks.

The Jihadi True Believer Fantasy advocates believe in the Salafi (orthodox) seventh-century interpretation of the Islamic holy book, the Quran, and insist that all Muslims follow it to the letter.

External Elements

The external element of the indoctrination process requires a facilitator to encourage the recruit to reject the status quo in favor of jihad.  The facilitator could be a persuasive jihadi recruiter, a charismatic imam, a “friend” in a chat room or a radical college professor that creates a support system for ensuring radicalization.  Becoming a part of the jihadi network creates a dose of groupthink where following group rules and behaviors creates a feeling of unity and belonging.  By combining the internal vulnerability (fantasies) and the external (facilitator) together a recipe for a jihadi recruit is created.

Radicalization is prevalent in social media chat rooms, in radical mosques, and on college campuses, where radical Muslim Student Associations, intolerant literature, and jihadi professors reside.  Social groups such as fraternities, sports clubs, prisons, gangs, social cliques create connections for peer approval.  At one time, it took years to radicalize recruits.  Now it may take less than a month (1).

Those who join the caliphate will likely witness brutal beheadings and slavery, eventually wishing they had never left home.  Sadly, like 95% of ISIS recruits, Hoda Muthana from the University of Alabama cannot return home.  What can parents do?

Find some resolve to become educated about radical Islamism.  Develop an awareness of the fantasies and tactics used to recruit.  Teach your children about the warning signs, locations, and tactics jihadis use, and create strategies to make your neighborhood a safer place.  It is every American’s responsibility to protect our families and communities.  As Edmund Burke famously stated, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

(1) Matthew Levitt, Washington Institute of the Near East, speaking at the Counter-Terrorism World Conference in Hertzliya, Israel at the IDC Institute, July 15, 2016.

“Between the soccer practices and the hours at her accounting job and the potlucks with the neighbors, Christianne Boudreau spent every spare minute watching Islamic State videos, her nose pressed up against the computer screen[.] … Through the screens and behind the balaclavas, she was looking for her son’s eyes.”

If only Christianne had been aware of the signs, processes, and ideology of Islamic indoctrination before her son, Damien, disappeared.  If only more parents were knowledgeable about predatory recruiters who seek to promote extremist jihadi values to curious and naïve teens.  Then perhaps the parents of three girls ages 15, 16, and 17 from an upper-class neighborhood in Denver would have recognized the signs before the girls stole away from high school to join ISIS.  Newlyweds from Mississippi who thought it would be cool to celebrate their honeymoon by serving ISIS would not be serving time instead.  An American mother of three, in Chicago, who woke one morning to find a letter, instead of her children, might have stopped them before they left to join ISIS.

Salafi-jihadism is described by convicted terrorist Anjem Choudary: “Next time when your child is at school and the teacher says, what do you want to be when you grow up?  What is your ambition?  They should say, to dominate the whole world by Islam.”  Like gangs and cults, radical Islamism justifies acts of violence by using subversive messaging and brainwashing techniques.  Studies show that radicalization could happen to anyone, not just the mentally ill, petty criminals or society drop-outs, but average Americans. How can American parents tell if their child is under the influence of a cunning jihadi recruiter?

The signs of jihadi indoctrination include suddenly quitting smoking, drinking, consuming pork; spending a lot of time in chat rooms; a sudden interest in learning about Islam or Arabic; a change in friendships; spending a large amount of time at a mosque or Islamic cultural center; judging others’ behavior as not sanctioned by Allah; a change from Western clothing styles; and no longer listening to music or watching television.  Parents should heed these red flags and speak frankly to their children about all types of influences and outside dangers.

As indoctrination progresses, it penetrates the psyche so deeply that once it has taken root, it is difficult to break away.  Alex, a Sunday school teacher, met her “friend” Feisal, her radical handler, online.  Alex showed signs of indoctrination, but by the time her grandmother discovered Feisal, it was too late: Alex was lost to radical Islamism.  Even then, in the back of her mind, she wondered, how can these nice people be the same ones chopping off people’s heads?

No One-Size-Fits-All Radicalization Process

Parental intuition is the best way to spot indoctrination.  Every teen is different – there are introverts and extroverts, strict rule followers, and those who think rules are a casual suggestion.  There are philosophers and eye-rollers, ambitious overachievers and fun-loving couch potatoes.  Children are born with a basic nature, a personal footprint.  As they mature, internal triggers are developed, and the trained recruiter manipulates those triggers creating an “us” versus “them” dichotomy.  By pitting teens against their family and their country, the recruiter gains control.  Further, demanding secrecy from the neophyte, recruiters create mystique and excitement while ensuring even more control.  Like Alex, soon the recruit is lonely, isolated, and dependent on the handler.

At this point, recruits may experience emotional upheavals as their lives take drastic changes creating fertile ground for indoctrination.  Americans who radicalize hail from extremely diverse backgrounds and are motivated by vastly different factors.  But what they do have in common is that everyone has a fantasy – especially during the invincible teenage years.  Recruiters design and frame a personal profile to fit every jihadi fantasy by detecting individual vulnerabilities.

Through manipulation, isolation, brainwashing, the drive for purpose, and the security of routines, teens find comfort with their jihadi handlers.  How does a recruiter access and draw-in prospective recruits?  A personal crisis drawn out by a jihadi fantasy may provide fertile soil for “internal” radicalization.  An “internal” and an “external” element must be present for the radicalization process to occur.

Internal Elements

From the jock with excessive testosterone looking for violence to feed displaced anger to the “save the world” idealist who seeks to help suffering refugees from Syria, everyone has dreams. Perhaps one of the following fantasies describes someone you know.

From the Adventure-Seeker Fantasy thriving on adrenaline by his perceived invincibility who seeks ISIS as a cool summer camp to the Jihadi Bride-Homemaker Fantasy who dreams of giving birth to ISIS babies while hiding behind hijabs, these fantasies capture an emptiness waiting to be filled.  Caught between the desire for a conventional lifestyle but wanting to live it in an unconventional way; many of the recruits are escaping unfulfilled dreams.  The jihadi recruiter manipulates the recruits’ internal vulnerability by creating an environment that fulfills their emptiness that ironically feels safe.

The Jihadi Grievance Maker Fantasy despises American values, capitalism, and freedom.  They disrupt lectures on campus violently protesting at those exercising their First Amendment rights with whom they disagree.

The Jihadi Martyr-Redeemer Fantasy dreams of giving their life as a “shahid,” or martyr, believing his that death will be a family celebration.  Martyrs’ families receive monthly salaries for their sacrifice.  In 2016, suicide bombings reached an all-time high and ISIS claimed responsibility for 70% of the attacks.

The Jihadi True Believer Fantasy advocates believe in the Salafi (orthodox) seventh-century interpretation of the Islamic holy book, the Quran, and insist that all Muslims follow it to the letter.

External Elements

The external element of the indoctrination process requires a facilitator to encourage the recruit to reject the status quo in favor of jihad.  The facilitator could be a persuasive jihadi recruiter, a charismatic imam, a “friend” in a chat room or a radical college professor that creates a support system for ensuring radicalization.  Becoming a part of the jihadi network creates a dose of groupthink where following group rules and behaviors creates a feeling of unity and belonging.  By combining the internal vulnerability (fantasies) and the external (facilitator) together a recipe for a jihadi recruit is created.

Radicalization is prevalent in social media chat rooms, in radical mosques, and on college campuses, where radical Muslim Student Associations, intolerant literature, and jihadi professors reside.  Social groups such as fraternities, sports clubs, prisons, gangs, social cliques create connections for peer approval.  At one time, it took years to radicalize recruits.  Now it may take less than a month (1).

Those who join the caliphate will likely witness brutal beheadings and slavery, eventually wishing they had never left home.  Sadly, like 95% of ISIS recruits, Hoda Muthana from the University of Alabama cannot return home.  What can parents do?

Find some resolve to become educated about radical Islamism.  Develop an awareness of the fantasies and tactics used to recruit.  Teach your children about the warning signs, locations, and tactics jihadis use, and create strategies to make your neighborhood a safer place.  It is every American’s responsibility to protect our families and communities.  As Edmund Burke famously stated, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

(1) Matthew Levitt, Washington Institute of the Near East, speaking at the Counter-Terrorism World Conference in Hertzliya, Israel at the IDC Institute, July 15, 2016.



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