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1. "Explain what psychological and behavioral factors play a role in those ‘homegrown’ individuals becoming radicalized and conducting terrorist attacks within their own nation. Also, address at least one radicalization model mentioned in the required readings that you feel accurately describes the process by which individuals become extremists. "
When looking into recent homegrown terrorist attacks, there are no checklists that the terrorist follow. They all differ and vary, but there are some similarities between them. Typically they have something bad happen in their life that makes them depressed, sad or questioning their belief system and they turn to Islam for help. I think one model is the closest to identifying homegrown terrorists the best. The NYPD has come up with a model that I think best fits and clarifies the process homegrown terrorists go through, prior to, during, and when they become a homegrown terrorist.
The NYPD model is in stages. The first stage is "pre-radicalization". This is the person's life prior to radicalizing. The second stage is "Self Identification", and this is where the radicalization process begins, typically when the individual turns to Islam for guidance during a tough time in their life. Usually the crisis will challenge their previous beliefs and they use Islam to help them through it. "Indoctrination" is the third stage, is when the individual accepts the " jihadi-Salafi " world view, and condones all violence against anything that is non Islam.They believe that western civilization is waging war against Islam and typically stop self serving goals and ideas, and turn to helping, protecting or avenging other Muslims. This is the stage where we see them leave Mosques and get together in smaller groups and hold private meetings with other like minded people and talk about their radical agendas. The fourth and final stage is the “jihadization”. This stage is when the individual has declared themselves as a "holy warrior" or "mujahadeen". This is where they become violently committed to jihad. This stage is where the person will seek para military knowledge and travel abroad to attend training camps. When they return, the gather in their private meetings and plan a terror attack.
2. Explain what psychological and behavioral factors play a role in those ‘homegrown’ individuals becoming radicalized and conducting terrorist attacks within their own nation.
“Homegrown” terrorists are a fascinating bunch. They are interesting in the fact that they knowingly go against a nation they were born in or one that adopted them. After being raised in the American culture or willingly choosing to move into the country, it is bewildering that they can, and want, to carry out their operations. These operations are usually devastating and are carried out against their ‘neighbors’ and innocent people.
But how does one go from an American citizen and ‘grow’ into a terrorist? According to the article, On the Radicalization Process, there are risk factors commonly noted in people who have been radicalized. “(1) They come from immigrant families (second or third generation); (2) they have previous police records (for various offenses, such as juvenile delinquency); (3) they have been in jail (sometimes for short periods, prisons have proved fertile recruitment grounds for Muslim radicals); (4) they have social difficulties, including family problems, economic difficulties, and identity crises; and (5), most have traveled to and returned from a country in which ISIS or another extremist group is active” (Leistedt, 2016. Pg. 1589).
Many ‘homegrown’ terrorists are radicalized during a transitional period in their lives. This transitional period is when an individual is most vulnerable because they are lonely and seeking answers and companions. They are open to persuasion that they normally would not be and willing to try or learn about something new (Singer, 1995).
Address at least one radicalization model mentioned in the required readings that you feel accurately describes the process by which individuals become extremists.
During this week’s lesson, we learned about a few different radicalization processes through which most terrorists progress. The two that I am keen on are Moghaddam’s Staircase and the NYPD Radicalization Process. In my opinion, Moghaddam’s Staircase is very specific in its six floors while the NYPD model is contritely simple. The simplicity behind the NYPD model’s four stage process is easy to apply to a terrorist and how they became radicalized. Their model runs similar to one published by the FBI and Tomas Precht of the Danish Ministry of Justice. Precht identifies that, “Only a few [recruits] end up becoming terrorists. The rest stop or drop out of the radicalization process at different phases” (Borum, 2011. Pg. 41).
In looking at Moghaddam’s Staircase, this in-depth model shows that as a recruit moves up the staircase, their choices diminish until the only possible outcome is violence.
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